precession (n.) Look up precession at
1590s, from Late Latin praecissionem (nominative praecissio) "a coming before," from past participle stem of Latin praecedere "to go before" (see precede). Originally used in reference to calculations of the equinoxes, which come slightly earlier each year.
precieuse (n.) Look up precieuse at
"pedantic woman, woman aiming at refined delicacy of language and taste" (1727), from French précieuse, noun use of fem. of précieux (see precious (adj.)); especially as lampooned in Molière's comedy "Les Précieuses ridicules" (1659).
precinct (n.) Look up precinct at
c. 1400, prasaynt (mid-15c. as precincte), "district defined for purposes of government or representation," from Medieval Latin precinctum "enclosure, boundary line," noun use of neuter past participle of Latin praecingere "to gird about, surround," from prae "before" (see pre-) + cingere "to surround, encircle" (see cinch (v.)).
precious (n.) Look up precious at
"beloved or dear person or object," 1706, from precious (adj.).
precious (adj.) Look up precious at
mid-13c., from Old French precios "precious, costly, honorable, of great worth" (11c., Modern French précieux), from Latin pretiosus "costly, valuable," from pretium "value, worth, price" (see price (n.)). Meaning "over-refined" in English first recorded late 14c. In Johnson's day, it also had a secondary inverted sense of "worthless." Related: Preciously; preciousness.
precipe (n.) Look up precipe at
1610s, from Latin praecipes, variant of praeceps "headfirst, headlong, precipitous," as a noun, "a precipice" (see precipice).
precipice (n.) Look up precipice at
"steep face of rock," 1630s, from Middle French précipice, from Latin praecipitium "a steep place," literally "a fall or leap," from praeceps (genitive praecipitis) "steep, headlong, headfirst," from prae "before, forth" (see pre-) + caput "head" (see head (n.)). Earlier in English as a verb (1590s) meaning "fall to great depth."
precipitant (adj.) Look up precipitant at
1610s, from Latin precipitantem, present participle of praecipitare (see precipitate (v.)). As a noun in chemistry from 1680s. The adjective senses now are taken by precipitate (adj.).
precipitate (adj.) Look up precipitate at
c. 1600, from Latin praecipitatus, past participle of praecipitare "to throw or dive headlong" (see precipitate (v.)). Meaning "hasty" is attested from 1650s. Related: Precipitately.
precipitate (n.) Look up precipitate at
1560s, probably a back formation from precipitation.
precipitate (v.) Look up precipitate at
"to hurl or fling down," 1520s, a back formation from precipitation or else from Latin praecipitatus, past participle of praecipitare "to throw or dive headlong," from praeceps "steep, headlong, headfirst" (see precipice). Meaning "to cause to happen, hurry the beginning of" is recorded from 1620s. Chemical sense is from 1620s; meteorological sense first attested 1863. Related: Precipitated; precipitating.
precipitation (n.) Look up precipitation at
late 15c., "a casting down" (of the evil angels from heaven), also, in alchemy "separation of a solid substance from a solution," from Middle French precipitation (15c.) and directly from Latin praecipitationem (nominative praecipitatio) "act or fact of falling headlong, haste," noun of action from past participle stem of praecipitare "fall, be hasty," from praeceps "steep" (see precipice). Meaning "sudden haste" is c. 1500. Meaning "act of falling from a height" is attested from 1610s. Meteorological sense of "rain, snow, dew, etc." is from 1670s.
precipitious (adj.) Look up precipitious at
1610s, now obsolete, but preferred by purists for the sense "high and steep" over the later formation precipitous.
precipitous (adj.) Look up precipitous at
1640s, "rash, headlong," from obsolete French precipiteux (16c.), from Vulgar Latin *praecipitosus, from praecipitare (see precipitation). Related: Precipitously; precipitousness.
precis (n.) Look up precis at
1760, from French noun use of Middle French précis "cut short, condensed" (see precise). As a verb, from 1856.
precise (adj.) Look up precise at
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-) + -cidere, comb. form of caedere "to cut" (see -cide; for Latin vowel change, see acquisition). Related: Precisely (late 14c.).
preciseness (n.) Look up preciseness at
"precision," 1560s, from precise + -ness.
precisian (n.) Look up precisian at
"one devoted to precision," 1570s, from precise + -ian on model of Christian, etc.
precision (n.) Look up precision at
1630s, "a cutting off (mentally), abstraction," from French précision (16c.) and directly from Latin praecisionem (nominative praecisio) "a cutting off," noun of action from past participle stem of praecidere "to cut off, shorten" (see precise). Meaning "preciseness" is from 1740.
preclude (v.) Look up preclude at
1610s, from Latin praecludere "to close, shut off; hinder, impede," from prae "before, ahead" (see pre-) + claudere "to shut" (see close (v.)). Related: Precluded; precluding.
preclusion (n.) Look up preclusion at
1610s, from Latin praeclusionem (nominative praeclusio) "a shutting off," noun of action from past participle stem of praecludere (see preclude).
precocious (adj.) Look up precocious at
1640s, "developed before the usual time" (of plants), with -ous + Latin praecox (genitive praecocis) "maturing early," from prae "before" (see pre-) + coquere "to ripen," literally "to cook" (see cook (n.)). Originally of flowers or fruits. Figurative use, of persons, dates from 1670s. Related: Precociously; precociousness.
precocity (n.) Look up precocity at
1630s, from French précocité (17c.), from précoce "precicious," from Latin praecocem (nom. praecox); see precocious.
precognition (n.) Look up precognition at
"foreknowledge," mid-15c., from Late Latin praecognitionem (nom. praecognitio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin praecognoscere "to foreknow," from prae "before" (see pre-) + cognoscere "to get to know, recognize" (see cognizance).
preconceive (v.) Look up preconceive at
1570s, from pre- + conceive. Related: Preconceived; preconceiving.
preconception (n.) Look up preconception at
1620s, from pre- + conception. Related: Preconceptions.
precondition (n.) Look up precondition at
1825, from pre- + condition (n.). As a verb from 1841.
preconscious (adj.) Look up preconscious at
1860, from pre- + conscious (adj.).
precool (v.) Look up precool at
also pre-cool, 1904, from pre- + cool (v.). Related: Precooled; precooling.
precursor (n.) Look up precursor at
early 15c., from Middle French precurseur and directly from Latin praecursor "forerunner," agent noun from past participle stem of praecurrere, from prae "before" (see pre-) + currere "to run" (from PIE root *kers- "to run"). Related: Precursory.
predacious (adj.) Look up predacious at
also predaceous, 1713, from stem of predation (Latin praedari) + -acious.
predate (v.) Look up predate at
"to seek prey," 1974, a back-formation from predator, etc. Related: Predated; predating. For the word meaning "antedate; pre-exist," see pre-date.
predation (n.) Look up predation at
late 15c., "act of plundering or pillaging," from Latin praedationem (nominative praedatio) "a plundering, act of taking booty," from praedari "to rob, to plunder," from praeda "plunder, booty, prey" (see prey (n.)). Zoological sense recorded from 1907.
predator (n.) Look up predator at
1862, from Latin praedator "plunderer," from praedari "to rob" (see predation). Originally Predatores (Swainson, 1840) used of insects that ate other insects.
predatory (adj.) Look up predatory at
1580s, "involving plundering," from Latin praedatorius "pertaining to plunder," from praedator "plunderer," from praedor "to plunder," from praeda "prey" (see prey (n.)). Of animals, from 1660s.
predecease (v.) Look up predecease at
"to die before," 1590s, from pre- + decease (v.). Related: Predeceased; predeceasing.
predecessor (n.) Look up predecessor at
late 14c., "one who has held an office or position before the present holder," from Old French predecesseor "forebear" and directly from Late Latin praedecessorem (nominative praedecessor), from Latin prae "before" (see pre-) + decessor "retiring official," from decess-, past participle stem of decedere "go away," also "die" (see decease (n.)). Meaning "ancestor, forefather" is recorded from c. 1400.
predestination (n.) Look up predestination at
mid-14c., "the action of God in foreordaining certain of mankind through grace to salvation or eternal life," from Old French predestinacion and directly from Church Latin praedestinationem (nominative praedestinatio) "a determining beforehand," noun of action from past participle stem of praedestinare "set before as a goal; appoint or determine beforehand," from Latin prae "before" (see pre-) + destinare "appoint, determine" (see destiny). First used in theological sense by Augustine; given prominence by Calvin.
predestine (v.) Look up predestine at
late 14c., "to foreordain," from Old French prédestiner (12c.) "predestine, ordain" (of God) and directly from Latin praedestinare "determine beforehand" (see predestination). Related: Predestined; predestining; predestinate.
predetermination (n.) Look up predetermination at
1630s; see predetermine + noun ending -ation.
predetermine (v.) Look up predetermine at
1620s, originally theological, from pre- + determine or else from Late Latin praedeterminare (Augustine). Related: Predetermined; predetermining; predeterminate.
predicament (n.) Look up predicament at
early 15c., "category, class; one of Aristotle's 10 categories," from Medieval Latin predicamentum, from Late Latin praedicamentum "quality, category, something predicted, that which is asserted," from Latin praedicatus, past participle of praedicare "assert, proclaim, declare publicly," from prae- "forth, before" (see pre-) + dicare "proclaim" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly"). Praedicamentum is a loan-translation of Greek kategoria, Aristotle's word. The meaning "unpleasant situation" is first recorded 1580s.
predicate (adj.) Look up predicate at
1887, from Latin praedicatus, past participle of praedicare "proclaim, announce" (see predicate (n.)).
predicate (v.) Look up predicate at
1550s, back formation from predication, or else from Latin praedicatus, past participle of praedicare "proclaim, announce" (see predicate (n.)). Related: Predicated; predicating. Phrase predicated on "founded on, based on," is American English, first recorded 1766.
predicate (n.) Look up predicate at
mid-15c., a term in logic, from Middle French predicat and directly from Medieval Latin predicatum, from Latin praedicatum "that which is said of the subject," noun use of neuter past participle of praedicare "assert, proclaim, declare publicly," from prae- "forth, before" (see pre-) + dicare "proclaim" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly"). Grammatical sense is from 1630s. Related: Predicative; predicator; predicatory.
predication (n.) Look up predication at
early 14c., from Old French predicacion (12c.) and directly from Medieval Latin predicationem, from Latin praedicationem (nominative praedicatio) "a foretelling, prediction," noun of action from past participle stem of praedicare (see predicate (n.)).
predict (v.) Look up predict at
1620s (implied in predicted), "foretell, prophesy," a back formation from prediction or else from Latin praedicatus, past participle of praedicere "foretell, advise, give notice," from prae "before" (see pre-) + dicere "to say" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly"). Related: Predicted; predicting.
predictability (n.) Look up predictability at
1855, from predictable + -ity.
predictable (adj.) Look up predictable at
1820, from predict + -able. Related: Predictably, which in the sense "as could have been predicted" is attested from 1914.
prediction (n.) Look up prediction at
1560s, from Middle French prédiction and directly from Medieval Latin predictionem (nominative predictio), from Latin praedictio "a foretelling," noun of action from past participle stem of praedicere (see predict).