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Definition of "precedent" []

  • An act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with subsequent similar instances. (noun)
  • Law A judicial decision that may be used as a standard in subsequent similar cases: a landmark decision that set a legal precedent. (noun)
  • Convention or custom arising from long practice: The President followed historical precedent in forming the Cabinet. (noun)
  • Preceding. (adjective)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "precedent" in a sentence
  • "But surely to Justice Breyer, and Souter and Ginsburg, who joined him, the precedent is the substance:"
  • "Saying that this won't be a precedent is a little like the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore saying that its decision was limited to the specific facts of that case."
  • "I think it makes much more sense to say that a precedent is being “applied” when there is no relevant difference that makes the rule of law announced in the precedent inapplicable."