precedent - definition in the American English Dictionary - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

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English definition of “precedent”

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precedent

noun [C/U]  us   /ˈpres·ɪ·dənt/
a previous action, situation, or decision that can be used as a reason or example for a similar action or decision at a later time: [C] Conditions have changed enormously, and the past is not much of a precedent. [U] Precedent indicated that a change would take place sooner rather than later.
(Definition of precedent from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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