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


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

Other Words from decree


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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Saturday's decree came from the Taliban's infamous Ministry of Vice and Virtue, the moral arm of the hard-line Islamic government that's enforced numerous oppressive policies toward women in the past. Nicholas Reimann, Forbes, 7 May 2022 Starting in the eighteenth century, genealogical authority increasingly shifted from religious and family figures to government officials who certify births, license marriages, decree divorces, register deaths, and probate wills. Maya Jasanoff, The New Yorker, 2 May 2022 On Monday, Russia issued a decree sending troops to two regions of Ukraine, a move widely construed in the West as a first step toward a full invasion. New York Times, 22 Feb. 2022 Her husband and 18-year-old son stayed behind in Odesa, prohibited by a Ukrainian decree that required all military-age men to stay and fight. Ayman Oghanna, NBC News, 26 Apr. 2022 Gomes and other politicians promised to take Bolsonaro’s decree to the Supreme Court, arguing the president cannot make such decision based on personal interests. Mauricio Savarese, ajc, 22 Apr. 2022 Sanction was first used in a religious context, to mean a law or ecclesiastical decree. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 Apr. 2022 In fact, all of Collinsville will celebrate Cinco de Julius, by official decree. Susan Dunne, Hartford Courant, 15 Apr. 2022 Auditors have to work closely with company executives and audit committees to, for example, to determine whether legal rights to ownership of certain physical assets have changed based on Russian government decree, Ms. Lord said. Mark Maurer, WSJ, 15 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As such, we, U.S. Citizens for Age Forgiveness Now!, are agitating for an executive order, to take effect on March 13th, which will officially decree that the past two years do not count toward the age of any American. David Kamp, The New Yorker, 28 Feb. 2022 Finally, the bill would clarify that the vice president has no power to decree whether electors will be counted. Damon Linker, The Week, 11 Jan. 2022 Swinney’s 6-7 team in 2010 — his second season as Tigers head coach — led decision-makers to decree sweeping staff changes, leading to Napier’s unceremonious ouster. Edgar Thompson,, 28 Nov. 2021 Unquestionably, we are getting rid of this stain and will decree so immediately. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, National Review, 13 Oct. 2021 Assuming central banks decree what market forces never would (a negative cost of capital), actual market actors will hoover up more and more of the savings repelled by central banks in a sense begging to be put out to pasture. John Tamny, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 So far, Taliban mullahs have yet to decree what shape and form art and culture will be permitted to exist in the new Afghanistan. Washington Post, 3 Sep. 2021 Here, the State attempts to use religious criteria to decree to which secondary school parents may send their children simply because the parents receive generally available tuition assistance. Sam Dorman, Fox News, 10 Sep. 2021 Hasty and ill-defined appeals to public health were all Western political leaders needed to decree lengthy cessations to productive labor. Barton Swaim, WSJ, 18 June 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of decree


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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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Dictionary Entries Near decree

decreasing function


decree arbitral

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Statistics for decree

Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Decree.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for decree


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


decreed; decreeing

Kids Definition of decree (Entry 2 of 2)

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


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

More from Merriam-Webster on decree

Nglish: Translation of decree for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of decree for Arabic Speakers


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