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precedent   WordNet 2.0

- an example that is used to justify similar occurrences at a later time

 
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- (civil law) a law established by following earlier judicial decisions

 
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- a subject mentioned earlier (preceding in time)

 
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- a system of jurisprudence based on judicial precedents rather than statutory laws
"common law originated in the unwritten laws of England and was later applied in the United States"

 
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- preceding in time, order, or significance

 
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Precedent   Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

1. Going before; anterior; preceding; antecedent; as, precedent services. Shak. "A precedent injury." Bacon.

Condition precedent
(Law), a condition which precede the vesting of an estate, or the accruing of a right.

 
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1. Something done or said that may serve as an example to authorize a subsequent act of the same kind; an authoritative example.

"Examples for cases can but direct as precedents only." -- Hooker.

2. A preceding circumstance or condition; an antecedent; hence, a prognostic; a token; a sign. [Obs.]

3. A rough draught of a writing which precedes a finished copy. [Obs.] Shak.

4. (Law) A judicial decision which serves as a rule for future determinations in similar or analogous cases; an authority to be followed in courts of justice; forms of proceeding to be followed in similar cases. Wharton.

Syn. -- Example; antecedent. -- Precedent, Example. An example in a similar case which may serve as a rule or guide, but has no authority out of itself. A precedent is something which comes down to us from the past with the sanction of usage and of common consent. We quote examples in literature, and precedents in law.

 
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