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.
a writ or warrant.
a written order issued pursuant to law, as a sheriff's order for an election.

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

percept, precept.

1. directive, order, guide, instruction, prescription. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
precept (ˈpriːsɛpt)
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
 a.  a writ or warrant
 b.  a written order to a sheriff to arrange an election, the empanelling of a jury, etc
 c.  (in England) an order to collect money under a rate
[C14: from Latin praeceptum maxim, injunction, from praecipere to admonish, from prae before + capere to take]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1382, from L. præceptum "maxim, rule, order," prop. neuter pp. of præcipere "give rules to, order, advise," lit. "take beforehand," from præ- "before" + capere (pp. captus) "to take" (see capable).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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
The breach of this precept is 'pride'.
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