pre·cept | \ ˈprē-ˌsept \

Definition of precept 

1 : a command or principle intended especially as a general rule of action

2 : an order issued by legally constituted authority to a subordinate official

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Choose the Right Synonym for precept

law, rule, regulation, precept, statute, ordinance, canon mean a principle governing action or procedure. law implies imposition by a sovereign authority and the obligation of obedience on the part of all subject to that authority. obey the law rule applies to more restricted or specific situations. the rules of the game regulation implies prescription by authority in order to control an organization or system. regulations affecting nuclear power plants precept commonly suggests something advisory and not obligatory communicated typically through teaching. the precepts of effective writing statute implies a law enacted by a legislative body. a statute requiring the use of seat belts ordinance applies to an order governing some detail of procedure or conduct enforced by a limited authority such as a municipality. a city ordinance canon suggests in nonreligious use a principle or rule of behavior or procedure commonly accepted as a valid guide. the canons of good taste

Examples of precept in a Sentence

the basic precepts of a religion I was taught by precept and by example.

Recent Examples on the Web

From talk radio to Fox News to Breitbart, alternative public spheres coalesced as echo chambers, where climate science could be regularly parried and parodied and conservative precepts about government overreach perpetually reinforced. Christopher Sellers, Vox, "How Republicans came to embrace anti-environmentalism," 6 July 2018 Rather than abandoning the project of nationalism inherited from the shah, the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has extended it, expressing nationalist ideas through religious precepts and values. Shervin Malekzadeh, Washington Post, "What Trump doesn’t get about ideology in Iran. It’s about nationalism, not theocracy.," 25 June 2018 Second, the décor follows structural and organizational precepts. Catherine Romano, WSJ, "Uncluttered Doesn’t Mean Empty: Lessons From a Décor Pro," 15 June 2018 Another precept is kindness, which includes empathy, respectful discipline and forgiveness. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "To succeed as a father, share the sorrows and magnify the joys," 14 June 2018 Erik has long been a proponent of the hunter-gather offense and has long counted Henri de Saint-Simon as an architect of his defensive precepts. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Can Rodney McGruder step in for Tyler Johnson?," 30 Mar. 2018 But the Bishnois stand out for taking their saint’s precepts to extremes to protect the rare blackbuck, the delicate chinkara and other antelopes that live alongside them in the harsh desert. Shashank Bengali,, "This nature-loving sect in India dragged one of the world's biggest movie stars to court — and won," 17 May 2018 In 2018, as a wave of angry nationalism sweeps across the globe and white supremacist movements gain strength, such basic precepts assume a radical cast. Jason Sokol, Time, "Martin Luther King Jr.'s Vision Was More Global Than We Remember. The World Mourned Him Accordingly," 4 Apr. 2018 That place-makes-space precept was born of the European artist’s long-standing interest in such L.A. Light and Space artists as Robert Irwin and Doug Wheeler. Christopher Knight,, "Artist Olafur Eliasson built a 'Reality projector' of smashing beauty," 2 Mar. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for precept

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin praeceptum, from neuter of praeceptus, past participle of praecipere to take beforehand, instruct, from prae- + capere to take — more at heave

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Time Traveler for precept

The first known use of precept was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of precept

: a rule that says how people should behave

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Comments on precept

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


the setting in which something occurs

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