The Meaning of Precedence: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of precedence? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word precedence, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word precedence mean?

According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and Collins English Dictionary, the word precedence is a noun that refers to something having greater importance, or the highest among persons of different ranks. This could be used in legal contexts to make a judicial decision or other important decisions based on national interest or the quality of information, as well as foreign policy. Precedence can also take into account the ceremonial order of rank, clear-cut moral absolutes, and universal values. This word has a distinct meaning about the order of importance, ceremonial order, diplomatic protocol or preference that can be used in formal occasions, social formalities, or another similar case. This is called an order of precedence. Precedence is a solitaire card game that uses two decks of playing cards, and does not have a playing area or tableau, but is rather a building game, according to Definitions. The pronunciation of precedence is ˈprɛsɪdəns, and precedence is three syllables – pre-ce-dence. 

 Many different languages also contain words that mean precedence. You may notice that in this list of translations of precedence from Word Sense, some of these words look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are words in different languages that look and sound similar because they have a shared root or language of origin. 

  •  French: préséance‎ (fem.)
  •  Swedish: företräde‎ (neut.)
  •  Russian: предшествова́ние‎
  •  Hungarian: elsőbbség‎
  •  Irish: oireachas‎ (masc.)
  •  Finnish: arvojärjestys‎
  •  Arabic: أَوَّلَِيَّة‎ (fem.), أَوْلَوِيَّة‎ (fem.)
  •  Mandarin: 優先權‎, 优先权‎ (yōuxiānquán), 更重要的 事 (gèng zhòngyào de shì)
  •  Czech: priorita‎ (fem.)
  •  Danish: prioritet‎ (common)
  •  Esperanto: prioritato‎
  •  Greek: προτεραιότητα‎ (fem.)
  •  Japanese: 優先‎ (ゆうせん, yūsen), 優先権‎ (ゆうせんけん, yūsenken)
  •  Bokmål: prioritet‎ (masc.)
  •  Nynorsk: prioritet‎ (masc.)
  •  Polish: priorytet‎ (masc.)
  •  Ukrainian: передування‎, старшинство‎
  •  Portuguese: precedência‎ (fem.)
  •  German: Vorrang‎ (masc.)
  •  Spanish: prioridad‎ (fem.), precedencia‎ (fem.)
  •  Dutch: voorrang‎ (masc.)
  •  Romanian: precedență‎
  •  Italian: precedenza‎ (fem.)

How can the word precedence be used in a sentence?

Officials of that institution invited governors, the head of state and diplomats along with people of other professions to particular occasions on the precedence of historical relevance, basis of seniority, and association with their own city. At these diplomatic dinners, they would give out medals to people from the particular institutions.

The president of a university had his own rules of precedence for the context of people and the context of decorations he had at formal dinners welcoming new students to the university. The assumption was that he was trying to make the school seem classier than it was. 

The precedence for the local officials being invited to the state occasions was an indication of functional importance and professional rank – the local orders of precedence were a court decision. Similar facts were in widespread use for safety.

They were able to create successful technology based on the precedence of using the order of operations in mathematics. 

The different countries showed examples of communication precedence with their communications personnel. Subsequent cases of national independence followed this past action.

There was no precedence for the mayor to address the class struggle with flash urgency. He could not give preferential treatment to the addressees but did not know what to do to help the poor and the dignitaries, as well as the highest ranking officers and the recipients of military honors. It was a dangerous world.

What are synonyms and antonyms of the word precedence?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word precedence. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful terms to learn if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself as well as if you are trying to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word precedence is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  antedate
  •  prepotency
  •  ascendancy
  •  preferment
  •  power
  •  preparedness
  •  transcendency
  •  highest place
  •  preferences
  •  degree
  •  top billing
  •  lead
  •  priorities
  •  front rank
  •  outweigh
  •  precession
  •  preference
  •  position
  •  authority
  •  preemption
  •  priority
  •  first place
  •  crash project
  •  dominion
  •  prevalence
  •  paramountcy
  •  anticipation
  •  pas
  •  interest
  •  precedent
  •  leading
  •  le pas
  •  concern
  •  force
  •  significance
  •  financial status
  •  anteriority
  •  advance
  •  eldership
  •  before
  •  supremacy
  •  worldly good
  •  choice
  •  prerogative
  •  influence
  •  preceding
  •  antecedency
  •  head start
  •  advantage
  •  precedency
  •  condition
  •  importance
  •  front burner
  •  weight
  •  excellence
  •  transcendence
  •  earliness
  •  leadership
  •  preexistence
  •  rank
  •  prevail
  •  caste
  •  favor
  •  former
  •  pride of place
  •  note
  •  accent
  •  right-of-way
  •  antecedence
  •  predominance
  •  primacy
  •  eminence
  •  preeminence
  •  dominance
  •  standing
  •  status
  •  focus
  •  leverage
  •  preponderance
  •  emphasis
  •  heading
  •  precede
  •  previousness
  •  primary
  •  order
  •  anteposition
  •  ahead
  •  control
  •  station
  •  place
  •  pre-eminence
  •  right of way
  •  prestige
  •  mastery
  •  override
  •  seniority
  •  prominence
  •  greater importance
  •  superiority
  •  good coverage

There are also numerous different related words that mean the opposite of the word precedence. These are known as antonyms, which are another great way to work on expanding your vocabulary. This list of antonyms of the word precedence is also provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  hindrance
  •  lower class
  •  lower orders
  •  inferiority
  •  counterbalance
  •  offspring
  •  result
  •  millions
  •  subservience
  •  herd
  •  commonality
  •  ordinary people
  •  lower order
  •  weak spot
  •  working class
  •  common
  •  public
  •  consecution
  •  commoners
  •  mass
  •  unwashed
  •  great unwashed
  •  ordinary
  •  weak part
  •  common people
  •  upshot 
  •  conclusion
  •  proles
  •  consequence
  •  commoner
  •  populace
  •  rag-tag
  •  heavy losses
  •  low class
  •  low-class
  •  plebs
  •  commonalty
  •  citizens
  •  outcome
  •  event
  •  peasantry
  •  last
  •  ragtag and bobtail
  •  end
  •  masses
  •  disability
  •  third estate
  •  community
  •  mob
  •  outgo
  •  poor
  •  effect
  •  disadvantage
  •  proletarian
  •  hinderance
  •  common herd
  •  pleb
  •  crowd
  •  fly in the ointment
  •  continuation
  •  proceeds
  •  general public
  •  fatal accident
  •  rabble
  •  riff-raff
  •  riffraff
  •  lowliness
  •  hoi polloi
  •  sequel
  •  population
  •  posteriority
  •  dregs
  •  heavy loss
  •  lowest
  •  lower-class
  •  commons
  •  plebeians
  •  scum
  •  proletariat
  •  peasants
  •  peasant
  •  subsequence
  •  multitude
  •  aftermath
  •  rank and file
  •  bourgeoisie
  •  disfavor
  •  people
  •  progression

Overall, the word precedence means a great importance or rank. This word has many synonyms and antonyms.


  1. What does precedence mean? | Definitions 
  2. Precedence definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  3. precedence: meaning, origin, translation  | Word Sense 
  4. Precedence antonyms – 89 Opposites of Precedence | Power Thesaurus 
  5. Precedence synonyms – 733 Words and Phrases for Precedence | Power Thesaurus