precedence

play
noun pre·ce·dence \ˈpre-sə-dən(t)s, pri-ˈsē-dən(t)s\

Definition of precedence

  1. 1a obsolete :  antecedentb :  the fact of coming or occurring earlier in time

  2. 2a :  the right to superior honor on a ceremonial or formal occasionb :  the order of ceremonial or formal preferencec :  priority of importance <your safety takes precedence>

Examples of precedence in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. <his merchandise order takes precedence because we received it first>

Origin and Etymology of precedence

see precede


First Known Use: 15th century



PRECEDENCE Defined for English Language Learners

precedence

play
noun pre·ce·dence \ˈpre-sə-dən(t)s, pri-ˈsē-dən(t)s\

Definition of precedence for English Language Learners

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



Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

living or existing naturally in a region

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • snowflake-closeup
  • Which is a synonym of imprecate?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ