Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “precedent”

precedent

noun uk   /ˈpres.ɪ.dənt/ us    /-ə.dent/
C2 [C] an action, situation, or decision that has already happened and can be used as a reason why a similar action or decision should be performed or taken: There are several precedents for promoting people who don't have formal qualifications. Some politicians fear that agreeing to the concession would set a dangerous precedent.Samples and examples [U] the way that something has been done in the past that therefore shows that it is the correct way: Would it be breaking with precedent for the bride to make a speech?Ways of achieving things [C] specialized law a decision about a particular law case that makes it likely that other similar cases will be decided in the same way: The judgment on pension rights has established/set a precedent.Court cases, orders and decisions
(Definition of precedent from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of precedent?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “precedent” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

sling

to throw or drop something carelessly

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More