pre·​ce·​dence | \ ˈpre-sə-dən(t)s How to pronounce precedence (audio) , pri-ˈsē-dᵊn(t)s How to pronounce precedence (audio) \

Definition of precedence

1a : priority of importance your safety takes precedence
b : the right to superior honor on a ceremonial or formal occasion
c : the order of ceremonial or formal preference
2a : the fact of coming or occurring earlier in time
b obsolete : antecedent

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Synonyms for precedence


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Examples of precedence in a Sentence

Americans, Adams now believed, were as driven by the passions for wealth and precedence as any people in history. Ambition, avarice, and resentment, not virtue and benevolence, were the stuff of American society. — Gordon S. Wood, Revolutionary Characters, 2006 So, too, did most accept that all economies are characterized by struggles for power and precedence among men and institutions run by men; in other words, that all economies are fundamentally political in nature. — Barry C. Lynn, Harper's, July 2006 Jefferson abolished precedence and placement at White House dinners to emphasize that all guests were equal, but his system—he called it "pell-mell"—was abandoned, and we have guests of honor and use place cards today. — Naomi Bliven, New York Times Book Review, 12 Sept. 1999 his merchandise order takes precedence because we received it first
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Recent Examples on the Web Obligatory attention to familiar characters and story lines takes precedence over imaginative freedom to follow characters and develop situations to their wildest implications. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“Godzilla vs. Kong,” Reviewed: A Monster Mush of Two Venerable Franchises," 2 Apr. 2021 And protecting corporate profit still takes precedence over eradicating a global pandemic. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "Stop Worrying About Conservatives Refusing to Be Vaccinated," 18 Mar. 2021 But its sloping sides would also act to break up any echoes wafting up from the performance space, which for the Hirshhorn takes precedence over all other considerations. Michael J. Lewis, WSJ, "The Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden Redesign: Paving Paradise," 11 Mar. 2021 My family rarely left me out of the action because tradition took precedence over underage drinking rules. Carlos Matias, Bon Appétit, "Mamajuana Is a Low-Effort Cocktail Project That Pays Off Big Time," 26 Feb. 2021 Then, when demand recovered quickly and the automotive industry ordered semiconductors again, the consumer electronics industry was already ahead in line for the parts and took precedence. Colin Beresford, Car and Driver, "President Biden Signs Executive Order to Address Semiconductor Shortage," 25 Feb. 2021 This is also the game’s first appearance on consoles, but Gallerani stressed that retaining the PC game’s feel took precedence. Washington Post, "‘Diablo II: Resurrected’ won’t reinvent the wheel when the circle was already perfect," 20 Feb. 2021 In corporate life, today takes precedence, and without the work of today, tomorrow never comes. Mohan Nair, Forbes, "Capturing The Five I's Of Hyper Innovation," 3 Mar. 2021 The lawsuit also cites statements by Neu and Village Administrator Jeremy Smith maintaining the developer's agreement takes precedence over state law. Cathy Kozlowicz, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Wisconsin Builders Association is suing Sussex, alleging the village is retaining security payments for longer than allowed," 2 Mar. 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

History and Etymology for precedence

see precede

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Time Traveler for precedence

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for precedence

Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Precedence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for precedence



English Language Learners Definition of precedence

somewhat formal : the condition of being more important than something or someone else and therefore coming or being dealt with first

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