"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[pree-sept] /ˈpri sɛpt/
a commandment or direction given as a rule of action or conduct.
an injunction as to moral conduct; maxim.
a procedural directive or rule, as for the performance of some technical operation.
  1. a writ or warrant.
  2. a written order issued pursuant to law, as a sheriff's order for an election.
Origin of precept
1300-50; Middle English < Latin praeceptum piece of advice, rule, noun use of neuter of praeceptus, past participle of praecipere to direct, foresee, literally, to take beforehand, equivalent to prae- pre- + -cep-, combining form of capere to take + -tus past participle suffix
Can be confused
percept, precept.
1. directive, order, guide, instruction, prescription. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for precept
  • It's not logical by any means, but it's a known precept in the marketing world.
  • Both by precept and by example they did honour to their native tongue.
  • Fairness is another basic management precept that is too often lost in the shuffle.
  • The breach of this precept is 'pride'.
  • Not every precept of good governance makes sense for businesses as special as banks.
  • His theory was better than his precept.
  • Calatrava has defied the key precept of modernist architecture, that form must follow function.
  • Charity is not a figurative precept.
  • To teach successfully, we must teach both by precept and example.
  • The golden rule is a fine precept, but it's not always obvious what other people would like done unto them.
British Dictionary definitions for precept


a rule or principle for action
a guide or rule for morals; maxim
a direction, esp for a technical operation
  1. a writ or warrant
  2. a written order to a sheriff to arrange an election, the empanelling of a jury, etc
  3. (in England) an order to collect money under a rate
Word Origin
C14: from Latin praeceptum maxim, injunction, from praecipere to admonish, from prae before + capere to take
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for precept

late 14c., from Old French percept, percet (12c.), from Latin praeceptum "maxim, rule of conduct, order," noun use of neuter past participle of praecipere "give rules to, order, advise," literally "take beforehand," from prae "before" (see pre-) + capere (past participle captus) "to take" (see capable). For change of vowel, see biennial.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for precept

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for precept

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with precept