Definitions for precedentˈprɛs ɪ dənt; prɪˈsid nt, ˈprɛs ɪ dənt

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word precedent

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

prec•e•dentˈprɛs ɪ dənt; prɪˈsid nt, ˈprɛs ɪ dənt(n.; adj.)

  1. an act or instance that may serve as an example or justification for subsequent situations.

  2. a legal decision serving as an authoritative rule or pattern in similar cases that follow.

    Category: Law

  3. established practice; custom:

    to break with precedent.

  4. (adj.)preceding; prior.

Origin of precedent:

1350–1400; ME < L praecēdent- (s. of praecēdēns), prp. of praecēdere to go before, precede (see -ent )

prec`e•den′tial-ˈdɛn ʃəl(adj.)

Princeton's WordNet

  1. precedent, case in point(noun)

    an example that is used to justify similar occurrences at a later time

  2. case law, precedent, common law(noun)

    (civil law) a law established by following earlier judicial decisions

  3. common law, case law, precedent(noun)

    a system of jurisprudence based on judicial precedents rather than statutory laws

    "common law originated in the unwritten laws of England and was later applied in the United States"

  4. precedent(adj)

    a subject mentioned earlier (preceding in time)

  5. precedent(adj)

    preceding in time, order, or significance

Kernerman English Learner's Dictionary

  1. precedent(noun)ˈprɛs ɪ dənt; adj. prɪˈsid nt, ˈprɛs ɪ dənt

    sth from the past used later as an example or rule

    the precedent on which the law is based; If we allow this it would set a precedent for future disputes.


  1. precedent(Noun)

    An act in the past which may be used as an example to help decide the outcome of similar instances in the future.

  2. precedent(Noun)

    A decided case which is cited or used as an example to justify a judgment in a subsequent case.

  3. precedent(Noun)

    The aforementioned (thing).

  4. precedent(Noun)

    The previous version.

  5. precedent(Verb)

    To provide precedents for.

  6. precedent(Verb)

    To be a precedent for.

  7. precedent(Adjective)

    Happening or taking place earlier in time; previous or preceding.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Precedent(adj)

    going before; anterior; preceding; antecedent; as, precedent services

  2. Precedent(noun)

    something done or said that may serve as an example to authorize a subsequent act of the same kind; an authoritative example

  3. Precedent(noun)

    a preceding circumstance or condition; an antecedent; hence, a prognostic; a token; a sign

  4. Precedent(noun)

    a rough draught of a writing which precedes a finished copy

  5. Precedent(noun)

    a judicial decision which serves as a rule for future determinations in similar or analogous cases; an authority to be followed in courts of justice; forms of proceeding to be followed in similar cases


  1. Precedent

    In common law legal systems, a precedent or authority is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court or other tribunal when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts. The general principle in common law legal systems is that similar cases should be decided so as to give similar and predictable outcomes, and the principle of precedent is the mechanism by which that goal is attained. Black's Law Dictionary defines "precedent" as a "rule of law established for the first time by a court for a particular type of case and thereafter referred to in deciding similar cases." Common law precedent is a third kind of law, on equal footing with statutory law, and regulatory law. Stare decisis is a legal principle by which judges are obliged to respect the precedent established by prior decisions. The words originate from the phrasing of the principle in the Latin maxim Stare decisis et non quieta movere: "to stand by decisions and not disturb the undisturbed." In a legal context, this is understood to mean that courts should generally abide by precedent and not disturb settled matters.

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'precedent' in Nouns Frequency: #2735

Translations for precedent

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


a past action, especially a legal decision, which may act as a guide or rule in the future.

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