precedent Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Meaning of “precedent” in the English Dictionary

"precedent" in British English

See all translations


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 ​similaraction or ​decision should be ​performed or made: There are several precedents forpromotingpeople who don't have ​formalqualifications. Some ​politiciansfear that ​agreeing to the ​concession would set a ​dangerous precedent. [U] the way that something has been done in the past that ​thereforeshows that it is the ​correct way: Would it be breaking with precedent for the ​bride to make a ​speech? [C] specialized law a ​decision about a ​particularlegalcase that makes it ​likely that other ​similarcases will be ​decided in the same way: The ​judgment on ​pensionrights has established/set a precedent.
More examples
(Definition of precedent from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"precedent" in American English

See all translations

precedentnoun [C/U]

 us   /ˈpres·ɪ·dənt/
a ​previousaction, ​situation, or ​decision that can be used as a ​reason or ​example for a ​similaraction or ​decision at a ​latertime: [C] Conditions have ​changedenormously, and the past is not much of a precedent. [U] Precedent ​indicated that a ​change would take ​placesoonerrather than ​later.
(Definition of precedent from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"precedent" in Business English

See all translations

precedentnoun [C]

uk   us   /ˈpresɪdənt/
LAW a previous ​action or decision that can be used as a reason for ​allowing something else: The ​ruling can serve as a precedent to ​challenge other similar ​cases. A ​judgement against the ​fund could set a precedent for ​compensationpayments to more of its 6,000 ​investors. This is an experiment without precedent in ​economichistory.a bad/dangerous/good precedent This ​law sets a very dangerous precedent for all ​businesses. create/​establish/​provide a precedent a ​legal precedent base sth on/​follow a precedent
(Definition of precedent from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of precedent?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

More meanings of “precedent”

Word of the Day


to go from place to place searching, especially for food

Word of the Day

Meerkat meme
Meerkat meme
by Colin McIntosh,
September 03, 2015
Meerkats are not new to popular culture (they appear in the folk tales of the San people of the Kalahari), but their arrival in the public’s consciousness, at least in the UK and the US, is a relatively recent phenomenon. Meerkats are small, sociable Southern African mammals that live in large family

Read More 

parklet noun
parklet noun
August 31, 2015
a public outdoor space that may be associated with a local business but where anyone can sit Pop-up cafes in NY are what’s actually called parklets in many other places around the country.

Read More