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

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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

Malcolm’s adult daughter Andrea (Lucy Boynton) also seems like a troublemaker who doesn’t fully hold with the island’s precepts, and has an immediate interest in Thomas. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Netflix’s Apostle takes The Wicker Man to a radical new level," 12 Oct. 2018 Sound policy is of little use if Americans don’t understand the precepts of liberal democracy. Peter Berkowitz, WSJ, "Conservatism and Populism Go Back Centuries," 6 Nov. 2018 With that precept in mind, every corner of the office was designed with a meticulous eye and a deep intentionality, that still felt effortless and organic. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "An Exclusive Look Inside Shay Mitchell’s Stunning Office Remodel," 4 Sep. 2018 With that precept in mind, new design challenges naturally arise. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Three San Diego Bungalows Are Transformed Into Vibrant, History-Filled Getaways," 3 Oct. 2018 These precepts guide Elisa Rizzi, who studied the art of pizza in her native Italy before landing in New York in 2015 with 10-year-old starter in her suitcase. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, "Korean Food Under a Japanese Influence, at the Bari," 8 May 2018 But they are united against a precept that defined Silicon Valley for decades: that technological progress is by definition good for society. Betsy Morris, WSJ, "The New Tech Avengers," 30 June 2018 The report found that Taliban judges were well trained and drew on cultural norms and common sense, not just Islamic precepts. Pamela Constable, Washington Post, "The Taliban has successfully built a parallel state in many parts of Afghanistan, report says," 21 June 2018 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

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

formal : a rule that says how people should behave

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More from Merriam-Webster on precept

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with precept

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for precept

Spanish Central: Translation of precept

Nglish: Translation of precept for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of precept for Arabic Speakers

Comments on precept

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to take the place or position of

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