prec·e·dence (prĕsĭ-dəns, prĭ-sēdns) also prec·e·den·cy (prĕsĭ-dən-sē, prĭ-sēdn-sē)
1. The fact, state, or right of coming before in time, order, or position: Applications arriving first will receive precedence in processing.
2. Priority claimed or received because of greater importance: The prospect of big investment returns took precedence over limiting risk.
3. A ceremonial order of rank or preference, especially as observed on formal occasions: Recipients of military honors were called in order of precedence—highest ranking officers first.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.