Definition of precedent in English:


Syllabification: prec·e·dent


Pronunciation: /ˈpresid(ə)nt
  • 1An earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances: there are substantial precedents for using interactive media in training breaking with all precedent
    More example sentences
    • Once these spaces are let go to development there would be no stopping further development because there would be a precedent set.
    • Historical precedent shows pubs have changed their names through the years, usually for good reasons.
    • We all have to go through the same nonsense, which seems crazy considering the precedent set at the first hearing.
    model, exemplar, example, pattern, previous case, prior instance/example; paradigm, criterion, yardstick, standard
  • 1.1 Law A previous case or legal decision that may be or ( binding precedent) must be followed in subsequent similar cases: the decision set a precedent for others to be sent to trial in the US
    More example sentences
    • The court should never view a foreign legal decision as a precedent in any way.
    • A lower court cannot set precedent, and must follow any higher courts decision.
    • If this court hears the case, they say, any decision would set a precedent and would have ramifications across the country.


(precedent /priˈsēd(ə)nt/) Back to top  
  • Preceding in time, order, or importance: a precedent case
    More example sentences
    • I shall add to the definition of humanly free agents, that they are agents whose choices do not have fully deterministic precedent causes.
    • All that has happened is that there is a set of precedent requirements of a procedural kind before a court case can be commenced.
    • Once a power to detain is held to depend on precedent fact, then of course anyone subjected to it can properly invoke habeas corpus.


late Middle English: from Old French, literally 'preceding'.

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