de·​cree | \ di-ˈkrē How to pronounce decree (audio) \

Definition of decree

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an order usually having the force of law a judicial decree by royal decree
2a : a religious ordinance enacted by council or titular head a papal decree
b : a foreordaining will God's decree
3a : a judicial decision of the Roman emperor
b : a judicial decision especially in an equity (see equity sense 3a) court or probate court


decreed; decreeing

Definition of decree (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to command or enjoin by or as if by decree decree an amnesty
2 : to determine or order judicially decree a punishment

Other Words from decree


decreer \ di-​ˈkrē-​ər How to pronounce decree (audio) \ noun

Examples of decree in a Sentence

Noun The President issued a decree making the day a national holiday. Their marriage was annulled by judicial decree. Verb The government decreed a national holiday. The change was decreed by the President. The City Council has decreed that all dogs must be kept on a leash.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Since July 1, streamers indeed have to invest between 20%-25% of their French revenues in French content under a new decree that stemmed from the implementation of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS). Elsa Keslassy, Variety, 10 Nov. 2021 The new Taliban government has not yet issued any decree on the subject, but many singers and musicians have already fled the country. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 31 Oct. 2021 The proclamation by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, coming amid global criticism of Egypt’s human rights abuses, theoretically ends a decree that had been renewed every three months since 2017. New York Times, 25 Oct. 2021 Most companies will allow a constructive trust to be created pursuant to a divorce decree that can hold the non-employee spouse’s share of the options; when the shares vest and if they can be sold, the non-employee spouse would be notified. Kimberly Nelson, Forbes, 18 Oct. 2021 In July, Lukashenko issued a decree allowing citizens of 73 countries to travel to Belarus without a visa for five days. Patrick Reevell, ABC News, 15 Oct. 2021 In Argentina, for instance -- the top destination for migrants in South America -- then-president Mauricio Macri passed a 2017 decree to limit immigrants' entry and facilitate deportation, prompting harsh criticism by the United Nations. Daniela Mohor W., CNN, 14 Oct. 2021 The absence of teenage girls in classrooms, while their male peers returned, followed a decree issued by the Taliban on Friday ordering male students and teachers to return to high schools and religious seminaries. Sune Engel Rasmussen, WSJ, 18 Sep. 2021 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree on Monday that temporarily bans social media platforms from removing many types of content, including misinformation about COVID-19 and the country’s upcoming presidential election. Billy Perrigo, Time, 10 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Swinney’s 6-7 team in 2010 — his second season as Tigers head coach — led decision-makers to decree sweeping staff changes, leading to Napier’s unceremonious ouster. Edgar Thompson,, 28 Nov. 2021 Unquestionably, we are getting rid of this stain and will decree so immediately. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, National Review, 13 Oct. 2021 Assuming central banks decree what market forces never would (a negative cost of capital), actual market actors will hoover up more and more of the savings repelled by central banks in a sense begging to be put out to pasture. John Tamny, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 So far, Taliban mullahs have yet to decree what shape and form art and culture will be permitted to exist in the new Afghanistan. Washington Post, 3 Sep. 2021 Here, the State attempts to use religious criteria to decree to which secondary school parents may send their children simply because the parents receive generally available tuition assistance. Sam Dorman, Fox News, 10 Sep. 2021 Hasty and ill-defined appeals to public health were all Western political leaders needed to decree lengthy cessations to productive labor. Barton Swaim, WSJ, 18 June 2021 But in 1992, when Tyler was 13, a Texas court used the results of a DNA test to decree that Charley Pride was indeed the biological father of Tyler Tines. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, 9 June 2021 Current rules decree that Brunellos must age in barrel for two years and at least four months in bottle, which is quite a short minimum. John Mariani, Forbes, 7 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decree.' 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 decree


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for decree

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French decré, from Latin decretum, from neuter of decretus, past participle of decernere to decide, from de- + cernere to sift, decide — more at certain

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Time Traveler for decree

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near decree

decreasing function


decree arbitral

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Statistics for decree

Last Updated

6 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Decree.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for decree



English Language Learners Definition of decree

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an official order given by a person with power or by a government
: an official decision made by a court of law



English Language Learners Definition of decree (Entry 2 of 2)

: to order or decide (something) in an official way


de·​cree | \ di-ˈkrē How to pronounce decree (audio) \

Kids Definition of decree

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an order or decision given by a person or group in authority


decreed; decreeing

Kids Definition of decree (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give an order as an authority Mom decreed that it was bedtime.


de·​cree | \ di-ˈkrē How to pronounce decree (audio) \

Legal Definition of decree

1 : an order having the force of law by judicial decree
2 : a judicial decision especially in an equity or probate court broadly : judgment divorce decree interlocutory decree
consent decree
: a decree entered by a court that is determined by the parties' agreement : a settlement between the parties that is subject to judicial approval and supervision specifically : such a decree by which the accused agrees to cease alleged illegal activities without admitting guilt
decree nisi decrees nisi
: a provisional decree that will become final unless cause is shown why it should not

Note: Some states grant divorces using decrees nisi. The decree nisi creates a time period (as of 3 months) allowing for possible reconciliation or for completion of various arrangements (as custody).

decree pro confesso
: a decree entered by a court based on a defendant's default and the presumption that the allegations are confessed — compare default judgment at judgment sense 1a
final decree
: a decree that disposes of an action by determining all matters in dispute including especially the parties' rights — compare final judgment at judgment sense 1a
interlocutory decree
: a decree that is made during the course of an action and that does not settle all matters in dispute

Other Words from decree

decree verb

History and Etymology for decree

Old French decré, from Latin decretum, from neuter of decretus, past participle of decernere to decide

More from Merriam-Webster on decree

Nglish: Translation of decree for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of decree for Arabic Speakers


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