Word of the Day : August 30, 2011


adjective PREK-uh-tor-ee


: expressing a wish

Did You Know?

Nowadays, you're most likely to see "precatory" used in legal contexts to distinguish statements that merely express a wish from those that create a legal obligation. For example, if you add a provision to your will asking someone to take care of your pet if you die, that provision is merely precatory. Outside of jurisprudence, you might see references to such things as "precatory dress codes" or "precatory stockholder proposals" -- all of which are non-binding. "Precatory” traces to Latin "precari" ("to pray"), and it has always referred to something in the nature of an entreaty or supplication. For example, a precatory hymn is one that beseeches “from sin and sorrow set us free” --versus a laudatory hymn (that is, one giving praise).


Mr. Tyler’s will included a precatory provision that his grand piano be restored and donated to a music school.

"A shareholder proposal to declassify the Board was defeated by shareholders who voted either by proxy or at the Meeting.… For the precatory proposal to pass, the affirmative vote of a majority of the shares represented in person or by proxy at the Meeting was required." -- From a Business Wire article in The Street, June 6, 2011

Word Family Quiz

What relative of "precatory" begins with "d" and can mean "to belittle or disparage"? The answer is ...


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