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as in:  sets a precedent

Precedent set by the Supreme Court must be followed by all lower courts.
  an example from a prior time — typically used to justify similar occurrences at a later time (especially a judicial decision)
 Mark word for later review on this computer
precedent precedents
Strongly Associated with:   precedence
Precedence and precedent are often confused, but have distinct meanings. Precedence deals with "ordering", while precedent deals with "a prior example".
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  • Precedent set by the Supreme Court must be followed by all lower courts.
  • It could happen—possibly, unlikely, but there is precedent—that the river might sweep my body all the way to the ocean.
    Gillian Flynn  --  Gone Girl
  • I was at war with myself I didn’t want to fail him, but any warmth on my part today would set a bad precedent.
    Kiera Cass  --  The Heir
  • Under U.S. Supreme Court precedent, that Hooks had charges against him dismissed in exchange for cooperation with authorities was information that the State was obligated to reveal to the defense.
    Bryan Stevenson  --  Just Mercy

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  • True to Departmental precedent, the bow and stern sections of this canoe had been shipped to another biologist who was studying rattlesnakes in the south Saskatchewan desert.
    Farley Mowat  --  Never Cry Wolf
  • Lorren gave a brief but significant pause, leading me to believe that it had not been quite as simple as that "—there was the problem that there was no precedent set for giving out funds to enrolling students."
    Patrick Rothfuss  --  The Name of the Wind
  • She had warned me on the telephone that it was exceedingly rare for a single man to be granted an adoption, that in fact there was no precedent for it and so really no reason for a meeting.
    Chang-rae Lee  --  A Gesture Life
  • There was no precedent for what to do with siblings—with the strict population laws, a couple was never allowed to have more than one child, and sometimes, they weren’t permitted to have any at all—and so no one in the Colony understood what it meant to have a brother or sister.
    Kass Morgan  --  The 100
  • I suggest that if and when any public statement is made to this effect, the Director of Public Prosecutions makes it clear that the Traynor case sets no kind of precedent, and that the CPS will continue to judge each case on its individual merits and circumstances.
    Jojo Moyes  --  Me Before You
  • Drew and I have spent the past three hours at his dining room table with dueling laptops, pulling up research and precedents for the most boring argument ever on term limits.
    Katja Millay  --  The Sea of Tranquility

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  • "Well, I sure don’t want to become a precedent."
    Pat Conroy  --  The Water is Wide
  • This created a tension and a frustration without precedent in the relationship between the sexes.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • There are precedents for giving a new wife a fish?
    Diana Gabaldon  --  Outlander
  • There is no precedent for what Peeta has done.
    Suzanne Collins  --  Catching Fire
  • To set a precedent, I guess.
    Suzanne Collins  --  Mockingjay
  • There are precedents, I may mention Schwarzenberg.
    Leo Tolstoy  --  War and Peace
  • The 13s had heeded the precedent set by Luma’s cancellation of the 15s’ season; a full roster had turned out for the game.
    Warren St. John  --  Outcasts United
  • The Church has a precedent of murder when it comes to silencing the Sangreal.
    Dan Brown  --  The Da Vinci Code
  • Every American airman knew about Nanking, and since then, Japan had only reinforced the precedent.
    Laura Hillenbrand  --  Unbroken
  • There was no precedent, he wrote, for a private organization to sue a state entity in his court.
    Homer Hickam  --  October Sky
  • There is precedent, however.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Battle of the Labyrinth
  • Perhaps he thought I was setting a precedent that other soon-to-be-tenured professors would be unwilling to equal.
    Randy Pausch  --  The Last Lecture
  • And, indeed, the one crime led on to the other; the first of these two criminals, the man in the dock, set a precedent, if I may put it so, and authorized the second crime.
    Albert Camus  --  The Stranger
  • In spite of her sedentary habits such abrupt decisions were not without precedent in Zeena’s history.
    Edith Wharton  --  Ethan Frome
  • Pride and precedent cannot overshadow reason.
    Dan Brown  --  Angels & Demons
  • Ironically, in his decision, the judge cited the HeLa cell line as a precedent for what happened with the Mo cell line.
    Rebecca Skloot  --  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  • Its reception into the Union was a precedent which may have far-reaching effects hereafter, when the Pole and the Tropics may hold alliance to the Stars and Stripes.
    Bram Stoker  --  Dracula
  • It must not be; there is no power in Venice Can alter a decree established; ’Twill be recorded for a precedent, And many an error by the same example Will rush into the state.
    William Shakespeare  --  The Merchant of Venice
  • No precedent exists to draw upon for wisdom.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Eldest
  • It is contrary to every principle we have tried to teach you, contrary to all established precedents and traditions of Art.
    Ayn Rand  --  The Fountainhead
  • There is precedent, sir.
    Eoin Colfer  --  Artemis Fowl
  • The most startling of these, a thing without precedent, is a mass of undignified poor.
    Kurt Vonnegut  --  Slaughterhouse-Five
  • —A most dangerous precedent indeed!
    Jane Austen  --  Emma
  • Whether they had ever, at different times, pleaded for and against the same cause, and cited precedents to prove contrary opinions?
    Jonathan Swift  --  Gulliver’s Travels
  • Thy case, dear friend, Shall be my precedent: as thou got’st Milan, I’ll come by Naples.
    William Shakespeare  --  The Tempest
  • Here Mr. Macey paused; he always gave his narrative in instalments, expecting to be questioned according to precedent.
    George Eliot  --  Silas Marner
  • They can hit us, there’s Scriptural precedent.
    Margaret Atwood  --  The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Why it had been sent was as yet unrevealed, but, judging by precedent, there had very likely been a phase of irreligious arrogance prevailing at the time.
    John Wyndham  --  The Chrysalids
  • There’s your law of precedents; there’s your utility of traditions; there’s the story of your obstinate survival of old beliefs never bottomed on the earth, and now not even hovering in the air!
    Herman Melville  --  Moby Dick
  • The sheriff’s wife greeted them graciously and set a precedent by having them sit in the living room, while her maid served them coffee.
    Ernest J. Gaines  --  A Lesson Before Dying
  • There is precedent for this: Liet serves two masters.
    Frank Herbert  --  Dune
  • Mrs. Gascoyne said they didn’t want to treat me differently from everyone else in the school because then everyone would want to be treated differently and it would set a precedent.
    Mark Haddon  --  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
  • It is not a convenient precedent at all.
    Charles Dickens  --  David Copperfield
  • This is contrary to slaughtering procedure, but Professor W. B. Stanford in his annotated edition of ’The Odyssey tells us that there are many precedents for taking it so.
    Homer  --  The Odyssey
  • And all of them had to be considered in the context of precedent.
    Jodi Picoult  --  Nineteen Minutes
  • But man’s capacities have never been measured; nor are we to judge of what he can do by any precedents, so little has been tried.
    Henry David Thoreau  --  Walden
  • A murderer and a villain; A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe Of your precedent lord; a vice of kings; A cutpurse of the empire and the rule, That from a shelf the precious diadem stole And put it in his pocket!
    William Shakespeare  --  Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
  • There had already been a horrible precedent.
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez  --  One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Langdon hesitated, realizing that for many religious people, there was indeed a precedent for human gods, Jesus being the most obvious.
    Dan Brown  --  The Lost Symbol
  • He drew up briefs, served summonses, examined deeds and records, and searched out precedents.
    Betty Smith  --  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
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Associated words [difficulty]:   precedent [2] , precedence [5] , precede [1] , precedence [5] , case law [7]
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Most commonly used in these subjects:   Law, Public Policy & Politics, Fine Arts & Music, Architecture
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