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


antecede, antedate, forego, predate, preexist


follow, postdate, succeed

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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

Normally entrusted with either the seventh inning or the game's most tense situation that precedes it, Harris has encountered 12 more lefthanded hitters than righties. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros not worried about lack of lefthanders in bullpen," 10 Aug. 2019 The unexpected verdicts, and the indictments that preceded them, have blurred an already fuzzy line between negotiation and criminal activity, say lawyers, community advocates, and others who routinely do business with City Hall. Tim Logan,, "Advocacy, negotiation, or criminal activity? Guilty verdicts blur line at City Hall," 8 Aug. 2019 The horrors of El Paso and Dayton—just like the many other horrors that preceded them—deserve to be discussed using language that sears and soars. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "How Trump Obscures Mass Shootings With Doublespeak," 6 Aug. 2019 Alas, the concerto’s final movement never has sounded persuasive to me, its mostly light-and-blithe character running counter to the anguish and soul-searching that have preceded it. Howard Reich,, "CSO review: Bronfman and Ax take on Brahms Piano Concertos," 3 Aug. 2019 As for all that precedes them, the Clippers run deeper than most. Rob Mahoney,, "How Should the Clippers' Role Players Orbit Around Their Two New Stars?," 2 Aug. 2019 But the rational expectationists, and the monetarists like Friedman who preceded them, were spot on in their critiques of the failures of Keynesian policies. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: ‘Inflation is solved’? Don’t bank on it," 28 July 2019 The pitcher who debuted Wednesday at Bowie in a piggyback role was far better than the versions that preceded it in past years at High-A Frederick. Jon Meoli,, "Orioles’ 2017 top pick Cody Sedlock shining at Double-A Bowie: ‘I’m looking forward to taking it to the next level’," 23 July 2019 But the 148th Open isn’t like the 147 that preceded it of course. Eamon Lynch, azcentral, "Open Championship at Portrush may be the only thing Northern Ireland can agree on," 15 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

15 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for precede

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on precede

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with precede

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

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