1. Clearly expressed or delineated; definite: The victim gave a precise description of the suspect.
2. Exact, as in performance, execution, or amount; accurate or correct: a precise measurement; a precise instrument.
3. Strictly distinguished from others; very: at that precise moment.
4. Distinct and correct in sound or meaning: precise pronunciation; precise prose.
5. Conforming strictly to rule or proper form: "The setting up of this Maypole was a lamentable spectacle to the precise separatists that lived at New Plymouth" (Thomas Morton).
[Middle English, exact, from Old French precis, condensed, precisely fixed, from Latin praecīsus, past participle of praecīdere, to shorten : prae-, pre- + caedere, to cut; see kaə-id- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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.