pre·​cede | \ pri-ˈsēd How to pronounce precede (audio) \
preceded; preceding

Definition of precede

transitive verb

1 : to surpass in rank, dignity, or importance
2 : to be, go, or come ahead or in front of
3 : to be earlier than
4 : to cause to be preceded : preface

intransitive verb

: to go or come before

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Synonyms & Antonyms for precede



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Examples of precede in a Sentence

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 But research has now shown that so-called responses to rhythm actually precede the external beat. We anticipate the beat … — Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia, 2007 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 Riots preceded the civil war. She preceded him into the room. The country became more conservative in the years that preceded his election. The new mayor is very different from the person who preceded her in office. The meeting was preceded by a brief welcoming speech. The chairman preceded the meeting with a brief welcoming speech.
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Recent Examples on the Web Two single-elimination rounds precede the semifinals, which are the best of five games. Cnn Editorial Research, CNN, "NBA and WNBA Finals Fast Facts," 30 Apr. 2021 Because of the logistics involved, the track lowering and bridge replacements and modifications likely will precede construction inside the tunnel. Colin Campbell,, "20 years after Baltimore’s Howard Street Tunnel fire, long-sought expansion project poised to begin," 28 Apr. 2021 On some level, border control must precede border reform. Jason L. Riley, WSJ, "Democrats Are Fooling Themselves on Immigration," 20 Apr. 2021 Madoff’s two sons, who also worked at the firm but were never charged, precede him. Katy Steinmetz, Time, "Bernie Madoff, Financier Who Operated the Largest Ponzi Scheme in History, Dies," 14 Apr. 2021 Results precede their causes, sometimes bewilderingly. James Gleick, The New York Review of Books, "Eclipsed by Fame," 13 Apr. 2021 If the county goes ahead with the step later this week, the expansion would precede by some two weeks the same broadening of statewide eligibility guidelines that Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday. Mallory Moench, San Francisco Chronicle, "Contra Costa County expects to offer vaccines to all 16 and up this week," 28 Mar. 2021 The racial disparities of higher education both precede the commencement stage—and the debt that students carry across it—and reach far beyond. Scott Pulsipher, Forbes, "Forgive Us Our Debts: The Racial Inequity At The Root Of The Student Loan Crisis," 20 Apr. 2021 Studies suggest a relationship between periodontal disease—the term for disease of the gums and bone structures supporting the teeth—and the inflammation that can precede heart attacks and strokes. Laura Landro, WSJ, "It Starts With Gum Disease. But It Can Lead to a Lot Worse.," 11 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'precede.' 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 precede

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for precede

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

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Time Traveler for precede

Time Traveler

The first known use of precede was in the 15th century

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Statistics for precede

Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Precede.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for precede



English Language Learners Definition of precede

somewhat formal
: to happen, go, or come before (something or someone)
: to do or say something before (something)


pre·​cede | \ pri-ˈsēd How to pronounce precede (audio) \
preceded; preceding

Kids Definition of precede

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

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Comments on precede

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