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Definition of “precedent” - English Dictionary

"precedent" in American English

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precedentnoun [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)







"precedent" in British English

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precedentnoun

uk   /ˈpres.ɪ.dənt/ us   /ˈpres.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 made: 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.
[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?
[C] specialized law a decision about a particular legal 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.

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(Definition of precedent from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"precedent" in Business English

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precedentnoun [C]

uk   /ˈpresɪdənt/ us  
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 compensation payments to more of its 6,000 investors. This is an experiment without precedent in economic history.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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