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verb pre·cede \pri-ˈsēd\

Simple Definition of precede

  • : to happen, go, or come before (something or someone)

  • : to do or say something before (something)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of precede


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to surpass in rank, dignity, or importance

  3. 2 :  to be, go, or come ahead or in front of

  4. 3 :  to be earlier than

  5. 4 :  to cause to be preceded :  preface

  6. intransitive verb
  7. :  to go or come before

Examples of precede in a sentence

  1. Minutes before 10:30 p.m. in China, the stadium pulsed with the emotions that always precede a 100-meter final. —Tim Layden, Sports Illustrated, 25 Aug. 2008

  2. But research has now shown that so-called responses to rhythm actually precede the external beat. We anticipate the beat … —Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia, 2007

  3. The print media ape the manners of television, and on television form precedes content, emotion replaces thought, legend substitutes for history, fiction dictates to fact. —Lewis H. Lapham, Harper's, September 1998

  4. Riots preceded the civil war.

  5. She preceded him into the room.

  6. The country became more conservative in the years that preceded his election.

  7. The new mayor is very different from the person who preceded her in office.

  8. The meeting was preceded by a brief welcoming speech.

  9. The chairman preceded the meeting with a brief welcoming speech.

Origin of precede

Middle English, from Middle French preceder, from Latin praecedere, from prae- pre- + cedere to go

First Known Use: 15th century

PRECEDE Defined for Kids


verb pre·cede \pri-ˈsēd\

Definition of precede for Students


  1. :  to be or go before in importance, position, or time <Many failures preceded her success.>

Word Root of precede

The Latin word cedere, meaning “to go,” gives us the root ced. Words from the Latin cedere have something to do with going. To precede is to go before. To exceed is to go beyond a limit. To proceed is to go forward. To recede is to go back or away.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up precede? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to expose to danger or risk

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