decree

noun
de·​cree | \ di-ˈkrē How to pronounce decree (audio) \

Definition of decree

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an order usually having the force of law a judicial decree by royal decree
2a : a religious ordinance enacted by council or titular head a papal decree
b : a foreordaining will God's decree
3a : a judicial decision of the Roman emperor
b : a judicial decision especially in an equity (see equity sense 3a) court or probate court

decree

verb
decreed; decreeing

Definition of decree (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to command or enjoin by or as if by decree decree an amnesty
2 : to determine or order judicially decree a punishment

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Other Words from decree

Verb

decreer \ di-​ˈkrē-​ər How to pronounce decree (audio) \ noun

Examples of decree in a Sentence

Noun The President issued a decree making the day a national holiday. Their marriage was annulled by judicial decree. Verb The government decreed a national holiday. The change was decreed by the President. The City Council has decreed that all dogs must be kept on a leash.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun If Congress doesn’t pass new laws, the FTC could use its rulemaking power to ban certain anticompetitive practices by decree. Nicolás Rivero, Quartz, "How to understand the extremely high stakes of Big Tech’s antitrust battle," 21 Dec. 2020 In 1989, the National Population Commission was created by military decree to organize the 1991 census in preparation for handover to a civilian regime. Akanni Ibukun Akinyemi, Quartz Africa, "The tricky, politicized history of Nigeria’s census and how to undo its long-term harm," 11 Dec. 2020 New administrations of both parties have a tendency to try to accomplish their policy goals by executive decree. Luther Strange, WSJ, "Liberty’s Last Line of Defense," 1 Dec. 2020 Its demands seemed moderate enough—things like freedom of the press, the right to education, abolition of government by decree—and it was received politely by Woodrow Wilson and even the president of the French republic. The Economist, "When a fraternity of revolutionaries evolved across Asia," 28 Nov. 2020 That mirrors a controversial bill passed in March which gave the government the power to rule by decree with no end date. Justin Spike, Star Tribune, "Hungary reverses course to sharply tighten pandemic rules," 11 Nov. 2020 For another, the Church’s understanding of L.G.B.T.Q. people can’t simply be changed by papal decree. Paul Elie, The New Yorker, "Pope Francis Supports Same-Sex Civil Unions, but the Church Must Do More," 25 Oct. 2020 The new mask mandate was contained in a government decree extending the state of emergency until Jan. 31. Nicole Winfield, chicagotribune.com, "Italy imposes mask mandate outside and in as virus rebounds," 8 Oct. 2020 The screening for passengers from China was expanded by presidential decree on Jan. 31, though flights between the two nations were effectively ended for several months starting in March. Alan Levin, Bloomberg.com, "U.S. Ends Airport Covid Screening of International Arrivals," 10 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Should the league change its own rules, decree USC to be the Pac-12 champion and cancel the league championship game scheduled for Friday? Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Pac-12 should cancel its conference title game and declare USC the champion," 13 Dec. 2020 The office of Argentina's president will decree three days of national mourning because of Maradona's death on Wednesday, and the Argentine soccer association expressed its sorrow on Twitter. Debora Rey, Chron, "Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona dies at 60," 25 Nov. 2020 Labels must be fixed, or so decree the TV debate shows. Evan Grant, Dallas News, "Kershaw’s Challenge: A World Series champion on the field, Clayton’s true legacy begins with his charitable work off it," 25 Nov. 2020 In the meantime, according to an affidavit filed on Bruno's behalf by family law attorney Steven Lane, there wasn't a child support judgment or decree against him. Matt Sledge, NOLA.com, "New Orleans judge blocks ad about colleague's divorce from airing during Saints game," 21 Sep. 2020 The laughs take a back seat when invaders threaten, forcing the emperor to decree that a male from every family must suit up for battle. Neal Justin, Star Tribune, "Hesitant to pay more than $30 to watch 'Mulan'? Get over it," 3 Sep. 2020 Certain cultures decree these spaces segregate men and women—in Morocco, hammams, often located near mosques to aid in pre-payer washing rituals, are split into two, with separate entrances for women and men. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Bathhouse for One? I Tried New York’s Latest Private Spa Experience," 21 Aug. 2020 On nightly broadcasts, Maduro and his lieutenants update citizens on the numbers, share information on shipments of humanitarian aid from allies like Russia and China and decree new measures to halt the virus. Scott Smith, Star Tribune, "Maduro's hold on Venezuela tightens as coronavirus surges," 28 July 2020 As the final chords faded, officers in drab olive jumpsuits and riot helmets streamed in and decreed that the crowds had breached disease-control orders. Suzanne Sataline, The Atlantic, "The Challenge to China From Hong Kong's 'Sense of Country'," 21 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decree.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of decree

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for decree

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French decré, from Latin decretum, from neuter of decretus, past participle of decernere to decide, from de- + cernere to sift, decide — more at certain

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Time Traveler for decree

Time Traveler

The first known use of decree was in the 14th century

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Statistics for decree

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Decree.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/decree. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for decree

decree

noun
How to pronounce decree (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of decree

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an official order given by a person with power or by a government
: an official decision made by a court of law

decree

verb

English Language Learners Definition of decree (Entry 2 of 2)

: to order or decide (something) in an official way

decree

noun
de·​cree | \ di-ˈkrē How to pronounce decree (audio) \

Kids Definition of decree

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an order or decision given by a person or group in authority

decree

verb
decreed; decreeing

Kids Definition of decree (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give an order as an authority Mom decreed that it was bedtime.

decree

noun
de·​cree | \ di-ˈkrē How to pronounce decree (audio) \

Legal Definition of decree

1 : an order having the force of law by judicial decree
2 : a judicial decision especially in an equity or probate court broadly : judgment divorce decree interlocutory decree
consent decree
: a decree entered by a court that is determined by the parties' agreement : a settlement between the parties that is subject to judicial approval and supervision specifically : such a decree by which the accused agrees to cease alleged illegal activities without admitting guilt
decree nisi decrees nisi
: a provisional decree that will become final unless cause is shown why it should not

Note: Some states grant divorces using decrees nisi. The decree nisi creates a time period (as of 3 months) allowing for possible reconciliation or for completion of various arrangements (as custody).

decree pro confesso
: a decree entered by a court based on a defendant's default and the presumption that the allegations are confessed — compare default judgment at judgment sense 1a
final decree
: a decree that disposes of an action by determining all matters in dispute including especially the parties' rights — compare final judgment at judgment sense 1a
interlocutory decree
: a decree that is made during the course of an action and that does not settle all matters in dispute

Other Words from decree

decree verb

History and Etymology for decree

Old French decré, from Latin decretum, from neuter of decretus, past participle of decernere to decide

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Comments on decree

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