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 An inverted yield curve has preceded the last seven recessions in the U.S. Ever sensitive to stock movements, the president tried to calm the markets after the close. Washington Post, "Trump Panics, Rushes Into Xi’s Arms," 18 Sep. 2019 The spread between three-month and 10-year securities has been inverted for much of the past four months, and such a trend has preceded each of the last seven recessions. Reade Pickert, Fortune, "U.S. Recession Indicators Haven’t Made Up Their Minds," 12 Sep. 2019 Yield curve inversions have often preceded recessions in the past and are a sign that investors are nervous about the immediate future of the economy. Anneken Tappe, CNN, "Dow heads for third day of gains, but can't help finishing August lower," 30 Aug. 2019 The latest inversion may just be a temporary blip and not necessarily result in economic contraction, but widespread loss of confidence is why inverted yield curves preceded every recession since 1956. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Econometer: Is the yield curve change a sign of a recession?," 23 Aug. 2019 In recent decades, an inversion has preceded most—but not all—recessions. Alain Sherter, CBS News, "3 reasons the U.S. economy isn't set to fall off a cliff," 20 Aug. 2019 Though the sample size is limited, an inverted yield curve has preceded recessions for the past half-century, most recently in 2006 and 2007. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Do Democrats Have a Plan for the Next Recession?," 16 Aug. 2019 That spooked Wall Street, because an inversion of the 2/10 curve has preceded every recession in modern history. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Dow falls more than 600 points after disturbing warning," 14 Aug. 2019 The phenomenon, known as an inverted yield curve, is rare and has historically preceded economic slowdowns. R.a. Schuetz, Houston Chronicle, "Fannie Mae predicts GDP growth will halve by 2020," 16 July 2019

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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Statistics for precede

Last Updated

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for precede

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

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How to pronounce precede (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on precede

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with precede

Spanish Central: Translation of precede

Nglish: Translation of precede for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of precede for Arabic Speakers

Comments on precede

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


something of little or no value

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