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precedent, precedence

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  Ed Good  —  Grammar Tips
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The meaning of the word precedent in law—a judicial decision that sets a rule—is very close to the common usage of the word: an “example” or “custom resulting from long practice.” A lawyer might find several precedents, that is, a number of cases ruling on the same point.

Precedence is generally used as a synonym for “priority” or “rank.”

Example: They set a bad precedent when they chose to give precedence to their friends’ applications first.

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