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How to pronounce precedent (audio)


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Dictionary definition of precedent

An earlier example of a situation, event, or decision that serves as a future guide.
"The court's ruling set a precedent for future cases."

Detailed meaning of precedent

A precedent can refer to a previous legal decision or action that serves as an example or authority for similar future cases. In the legal system, a precedent is a court decision that is used as a guide or authority in later cases that involve similar facts or legal issues. The principle of stare decisis, which is Latin for "to stand by decided matters," is the legal doctrine that requires courts to follow precedents established by higher courts in the same jurisdiction. This principle is based on the idea that legal decisions should be consistent and predictable, and that similar cases should be decided in a similar manner.

Precedents can also be found in other areas of life, such as in politics or business. For example, a political precedent can refer to a previous action or decision of a government or political party that serves as a guide for future decisions, and business precedent can refer to previous actions or decisions of a company that serves as a guide for future decisions.

Example sentences containing precedent

1. The court's decision set a precedent for future cases.
2. We should follow the precedent established by our predecessors.
3. The legal team researched similar cases for precedent.
4. Precedent often influences judicial decision-making.
5. The ruling broke with established precedent.
6. Studying legal precedent is essential for lawyers.

History and etymology of precedent

The noun 'precedent' has its origins in the Latin language. It is derived from the Latin word 'praecedens,' which is the present participle of 'praecedere,' a combination of 'prae' meaning 'before' and 'cedere' meaning 'to go' or 'to yield.' Thus, 'praecedens' literally means 'going before' or 'preceding.' In the context of law and decision-making, a 'precedent' is an earlier example or case that comes before the current one, serving as a guide or reference for future actions or decisions. This term reflects the idea that past events or rulings can inform and influence present and future situations, much like something that has 'gone before' paving the way for what follows.

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Further usage examples of precedent

1. The landmark case established an important precedent.
2. The precedent was cited in the lawyer's argument.
3. The judge considered relevant precedent before deciding.
4. The new policy follows the precedent of past administrations.
5. The attorney argued that the case had no precedent.
6. Legal scholars analyze precedent in their research.
7. The court upheld the precedent in a unanimous decision.
8. The precedent shaped the outcome of the trial.
9. Lawyers often look for precedent to support their claims.
10. The president's actions set a dangerous precedent.
11. The court established a binding precedent in the matter.
12. The ruling deviated from long-standing precedent.
13. The judge relied on a precedent from a similar case.
14. The precedent influenced public opinion on the issue.
15. The decision established a precedent for how similar cases would be handled.
16. The company's policies followed precedents set by other leading organizations.
17. The agreement broke with precedent and created a new standard.
18. The athlete's achievements set a precedent for future generations.
19. The company's success set a precedent for others in the industry.
20. The treaty established a precedent for future negotiations.
21. The court's ruling established a new precedent in constitutional law.
22. The project set a precedent for innovative approaches in the field.
23. The organization's approach followed precedents set by other non-profits.
24. The scientist's discovery broke with precedents in the field.
25. The event set a precedent for how similar situations would be handled in the future.



example, anomaly, exception, deviation


Prefix pre-, ACT 9 (American College Testing), Law and Order, Middle School 1, Punishment and Enforcement

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