Meaning of precedent in English:


See synonyms for precedent

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  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We fear there may well be a precedent set for the rest of her school life.’
    • ‘If precedent holds, it won't be publishers of tax-help books alone who benefit.’
    • ‘People claimed that the precedent set out by the sleeper hit in 1998 was finally superseded.’
    • ‘It's a great adrenaline rush to set precedent or prior learning on its ear.’
    • ‘I am going to break with the precedent set by the previous speaker and actually talk about the bill before the House.’
    • ‘I guess the point I want you to consider is what sort of precedent we are establishing here, because it is important for the future.’
    • ‘However, based on precedent the cards are stacked against them.’
    • ‘The public sentiment would have been the necessity for humanitarian considerations to overcome precedent this once.’
    • ‘So the planners want to look at what precedent they are setting.’
    • ‘He said it was without precedent and unfair - especially as the police had not been called in.’
    • ‘The result is a game of spot the allusion, with the final mass exodus dictated more by Chekhovian precedent than any kind of political logic.’
    • ‘It is the sort of precedent we are seeing in other legislation.’
    • ‘I want the kind of precedent I have seen in Europe followed here.’
    • ‘What a pleasing precedent any unlikely victory would set!’
    • ‘Is this a precedent we wish to set for other great regional powers as well?’
    • ‘The precedent it set does not augur well for future similar elections.’
    • ‘This is both illogical and a precedent we should not allow to be set.’
    model, exemplar, example, pattern, previous case, prior case, previous example, previous instance, prior example, prior instance
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    1. 1.1Law A previous case or legal decision that may be or (binding precedent) must be followed in subsequent similar cases.
      ‘we hope to set a legal precedent to protect hundreds of miles of green lanes’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Furthermore, this is a case of general importance and it may well set a precedent.’
      • ‘Critics say that the judges should have let the 1963 precedent stand, even if it was bad.’





  • Preceding in time, order, or importance.

    ‘a precedent case’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I just want to go back to some of the precedent issues of the settlement process.’
    • ‘This would be an example of precedent activism but not separation-of-powers activism.’
    • ‘His first and main ground is that the Inspector had no basis for his conclusion on the precedent effect.’
    one-time, erstwhile, sometime, late, as was
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/prɪˈsiːd(ə)nt/ /ˈprɛsɪd(ə)nt/


Late Middle English from Old French, literally ‘preceding’.