pre·​cept | \ ˈprē-ˌsept How to pronounce precept (audio) \

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

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 Likewise, the precept that large monuments and tombs are always proof of systems of rank comes up for review. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, 11 July 2022 An argument is often made that the notion of toxic commentary is a wholly vague precept. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 15 June 2022 Another environmental daily double, a precept of both smart growth and climate mitigation, is preserving core forests. Tom Condon, Hartford Courant, 11 June 2022 Surveys find that most people in France regard laïcité as an important precept. Rachel Donadio, The Atlantic, 22 Nov. 2021 This ongoing feedback from regular debriefs ensures the number one precept of a productive performance review: no surprises. Janine Maclachlan, Forbes, 8 Nov. 2021 The basic precept of the best-in-breed concept is to look at clouds and third parties as simply collections of services that can be mixed and matched as an app team's needs dictate. Kit Colbert, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 The starters—mac and cheese, burrata, mussels—blithely observe this precept: unfussy, forthright, hearty. The New Yorker, 6 Aug. 2021 Getting immediately to the point at hand is a sensible and altogether essential precept. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 28 June 2021 See More

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.

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 entry 1

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

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Last Updated

24 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Precept.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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