Precedent definition

prĕsĭ-dənt
Frequency:
An act, statement, legal decision, case, etc. that may serve as an example, reason, or justification for a later one.
noun
38
7
A practice based upon earlier precedents.
noun
14
5
The definition of precedent is a decision that is the basis or reason for future decisions.

An example of precedent is the legal decision in Brown v. Board of Education guiding future laws about desegregation.

noun
2
0
(law) A decided case which is cited or used as an example to justify a judgment in a subsequent case.
noun
2
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An act in the past which may be used as an example to help decide the outcome of similar instances in the future.
noun
3
2
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Convention or custom arising from long practice.

The president followed historical precedent in forming the Cabinet.

noun
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An act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with subsequent similar instances.
noun
1
0
(law) A judicial decision that is binding on other equal or lower courts in the same jurisdiction as to its conclusion on a point of law, and may also be persuasive to courts in other jurisdictions, in subsequent cases involving sufficiently similar facts.
noun
1
0
Something that came before, hence preceded the event currently in question, such as a previously decided case. It may serve as a model for the interpretation of a law, or disposition as a case.
adjective
0
1
Happening or taking place earlier in time; previous or preceding. [from 14th c.]
adjective
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1
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(now rare) Coming before in a particular order or arrangement; preceding, foregoing. [from 15th c.]
adjective
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1
(law) To provide precedents for.
verb
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1
(law) To be a precedent for.
verb
0
1
The previous version.
noun
0
2
That precedes; preceding.
adjective
2
5
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Preceding.
adjective
11
22

Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
precedent
Plural:
precedents

Origin of precedent

  • Middle English from Old French from Latin praecēdēns praecēdent- present participle of praecēdere to go before precede

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin praecÄ“dÄ“ns, present participle of praecÄ“dere (“to precede"); See precede.

    From Wiktionary