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

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
Recent Examples on the Web Literacy support, and hiring and increasing pay for staff, including teachers and mental health counselors, has also been given precedence, along with improving ventilation systems. NBC News, 6 Feb. 2022 The voices of figures from Spears’ past, including former manager Sam Lutfi and paparazzo ex Adnan Ghalib, are given precedence, and text messages from Spears, provided to the production by Ghalib, play onscreen. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 28 Sep. 2021 About 2 million Italians over 60 remain unvaccinated, despite being given precedence in the spring., 1 Aug. 2021 About 2 million Italians over 60 remain unvaccinated, despite being given precedence in the spring. Colleen Barry, ajc, 1 Aug. 2021 About 2 million Italians over 60 remain unvaccinated, despite being given precedence in the spring. Colleen Barry, Star Tribune, 1 Aug. 2021 When does a political stand, or a moral stand, take precedence over art? Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 2 May 2022 Records of the 911 calls obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution show 911 operators labeled the call as a lower-level emergency, meaning other more urgent calls could take precedence. Ariel Hart, ajc, 29 Apr. 2022 Indeed, except for 9/11, the show does not have a ton of precedence, given that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is the greatest threat to Europe's security since World War II. Andy Hoglund,, 27 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Precedence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on precedence

Nglish: Translation of precedence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of precedence for Arabic Speakers


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