precedent Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “precedent” in the English Dictionary

"precedent" in British English

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precedentnoun

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.

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(Definition of precedent from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"precedent" in American English

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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

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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)
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