1. Something done or said that may serve as an example to authorize a subsequent act of the same
kind; an authoritative example.
Examples for cases can but direct as precedents only.Hooker.
2. A preceding circumstance or condition; an antecedent; hence, a prognostic; a token; a sign. [Obs.]
3. A rough draught of a writing which precedes a finished copy. [Obs.] Shak.
4. (Law) 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.
Syn. Example; antecedent. Precedent, Example. An example in a similar case which may serve
as a rule or guide, but has no authority out of itself. A precedent is something which comes down to us
from the past with the sanction of usage and of common consent. We quote examples in literature, and
precedents in law.
(Prec"e*dent*ed), a. Having a precedent; authorized or sanctioned by an example of a like
(Prec`e*den"tial) a. Of the nature of a precedent; having force as an example for imitation; as,
All their actions in that time are not precedential to warrant posterity.Fuller.
(Pre*ced"ent*ly) adv. Beforehand; antecedently.
1. Going before; opposed to following.
2. (Astron.) In the direction toward which stars appear to move. See Following, 2.
(Pre*cel") v. t. & i. [See Precellence.] To surpass; to excel; to exceed. [Obs.] Howell.
(Pre*cel"lence Pre*cel"len*cy) n. [L. praecellentia, from praecellens, p. pr. of praecellere
to excel, surpass: cf. OF. precellence.] Excellence; superiority. [Obs.] Sheldon.
(Pre*cel"lent) a. [L. praecellens, p. pr.] Excellent; surpassing. [Obs.] Holland.
(Pre*cen"tor) n. [L. praecentor, fr. praecinere to sing before; prae before + canere to sing.
See Chant.] A leader of a choir; a directing singer. Specifically: (a) The leader of the choir in a cathedral;
called also the chanter or master of the choir. Hook. (b) The leader of the congregational singing in
Scottish and other churches.
(Pre*cen"tor*ship), n. The office of a precentor.
(Pre"cept) n. [L. praeceptum, from praecipere to take beforehand, to instruct, teach; prae
before + capere to take: cf. F. précepte. See Pre-, and Capacious.]
1. Any commandment, instruction, or order intended as an authoritative rule of action; esp., a command
respecting moral conduct; an injunction; a rule.
For precept must be upon precept.Isa. xxviii. 10.
No arts are without their precepts.Dryden.