Synonyms of precept

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Frequently Asked Questions About precept

How is the word precept distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of precept are canon, law, ordinance, regulation, rule, and statute. While all these words mean "a principle governing action or procedure," precept commonly suggests something advisory and not obligatory communicated typically through teaching.

the precepts of effective writing

In what contexts can canon take the place of precept?

The words canon and precept can be used in similar contexts, but canon suggests in nonreligious use a principle or rule of behavior or procedure commonly accepted as a valid guide.

the canons of good taste

When might law be a better fit than precept?

Although the words law and precept have much in common, law implies imposition by a sovereign authority and the obligation of obedience on the part of all subject to that authority.

obey the law

Where would ordinance be a reasonable alternative to precept?

While the synonyms ordinance and precept are close in meaning, ordinance applies to an order governing some detail of procedure or conduct enforced by a limited authority such as a municipality.

a city ordinance

When could regulation be used to replace precept?

The synonyms regulation and precept are sometimes interchangeable, but regulation implies prescription by authority in order to control an organization or system.

regulations affecting nuclear power plants

When would rule be a good substitute for precept?

The words rule and precept are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, rule applies to more restricted or specific situations.

the rules of the game

When can statute be used instead of precept?

The meanings of statute and precept largely overlap; however, statute implies a law enacted by a legislative body.

a statute requiring the use of seat belts

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Time Traveler for precept

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

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Cite this Entry

“Precept.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on precept

Nglish: Translation of precept for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of precept for Arabic Speakers


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