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[pri-sahys] /prɪˈsaɪs/
definitely or strictly stated, defined, or fixed:
precise directions.
being exactly that and neither more nor less:
a precise temperature; a precise amount.
being just that and no other:
the precise dress she had wanted.
definite or exact in statement, as a person.
carefully distinct:
precise articulation.
exact in measuring, recording, etc.:
a precise instrument.
excessively or rigidly particular:
precise observance of regulations; precise grooming.
Origin of precise
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin praecīsus curtailed, brief, orig. past participle of praecīdere to cut off, cut short, equivalent to prae- pre- + -cīsus, combining form of caesus, past participle of caedere to cut
Related forms
precisely, adverb
preciseness, noun
overprecise, adjective
overprecisely, adverb
overpreciseness, noun
superprecise, adjective
superprecisely, adverb
superpreciseness, noun
ultraprecise, adjective
unprecise, adjective
unprecisely, adverb
unpreciseness, noun
Can be confused
précis, precise.
1. explicit. See correct.
1. indefinite, vague. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for precise
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was a silent, precise man with a dour nature and a hard Aberdonian accent.

    The Valley of Fear Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Their precise age and antiquity have been disputed with some acrimony.

    The Dramatic Values in Plautus Wilton Wallace Blancke
  • This opinion was natural enough in a schoolmaster, but not in the precise form Wardlaw put it.

    Prester John John Buchan
  • The precise occasion of this offence cannot, and need not, be ascertained.

  • He furnishes us, moreover, with the precise training to which she had been subjected by her aunt, Mrs. Wilson.

    James Fenimore Cooper Thomas R. Lounsbury
British Dictionary definitions for precise


strictly correct in amount or value: a precise sum
designating a certain thing and no other; particular: this precise location
using or operating with total accuracy: precise instruments
strict in observance of rules, standards, etc: a precise mind
Derived Forms
preciseness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from French précis, from Latin praecīdere to curtail, from prae before + caedere to cut
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
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Word Origin and History for precise

mid-15c., from Middle French précis "condensed, cut short" (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin precisus, from Latin praecisus "abrupt, abridged, cut off," past participle of praecidere "to cut off, shorten," from prae "before" (see pre-) + caedere "to cut" (see -cide; for Latin vowel change, see acquisition). Related: Precisely (late 14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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