follow Dictionary.com

Denotation vs. Connotation

precept

[pree-sept] /ˈpri sɛpt/
noun
1.
a commandment or direction given as a rule of action or conduct.
2.
an injunction as to moral conduct; maxim.
3.
a procedural directive or rule, as for the performance of some technical operation.
4.
Law.
  1. a writ or warrant.
  2. a written order issued pursuant to law, as a sheriff's order for an election.
Origin of precept
1300-1350
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.
Synonyms
1. directive, order, guide, instruction, prescription.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for precept
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They are mostly in the form of precept and command, as was only likely, since they were intended for the guidance of conduct.

  • By precept and Example they ought to be encourag'd to it from their Infancy.

    A Letter to Dion Bernard Mandeville
  • By example and precept we were trained from infancy in this manner of speech.

    The Syrian Christ Abraham Mitrie Rihbany
  • This is a matter of precept rather than of law, and cannot be precisely regulated by the legislator.

    Laws Plato
  • The most perfect way of satisfying the precept is to attend Office in choir.

    The Priestly Vocation Bishop Bernard Ward
  • Where precept had failed, Richard found himself converted by example.

    Mistress Wilding Rafael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for precept

precept

/ˈpriːsɛpt/
noun
1.
a rule or principle for action
2.
a guide or rule for morals; maxim
3.
a direction, esp for a technical operation
4.
(law)
  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
n.

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

13
16
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for precept