precept

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noun pre·cept \ˈprē-ˌsept\

Definition of precept

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

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

Examples of precept in a Sentence

  1. the basic precepts of a religion

  2. I was taught by precept and by example.

Recent Examples of precept from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

Synonym Discussion of 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

PRECEPT Defined for English Language Learners

precept

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noun

Definition of precept for English Language Learners

  • : a rule that says how people should behave



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