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precedent

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noun precedent pronunciation in British English /ˈpresɪdənt/ 
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singularprecedent
pluralprecedents
  1. 1
    [countable/uncountable] an action or event in the past that is used as an example or reason for a present action or event
    precedent for:

    There are good precedents for this sort of cooperation between organizations.

    set/establish/create a precedent:

    Arab states condemned the plan, regarding it as setting a dangerous precedent.

    without precedent:

    This is disturbing news and totally without precedent.

  2. 2
    [countable] legal a decision by a court on which future decisions are based

    It would not be right for this case to be treated as a precedent.

    1. a.
      [uncountable] the practice of basing legal decisions on decisions in previous cases

      The English legal system is a composite of legislation and judicial precedent.

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