early 15c., preceden, "lead the way; occur or exist before, go before in order of time," from Old French preceder and directly from Latin praecedere "to go before," from prae "before" (see pre-) + cedere "to go" (from PIE root *ked- "to go, yield"). Meaning "to walk in front of" is late 15c.; that of "to go before in rank or importance" is attested from mid-15c. Related: Preceded; preceding.
early 15c., "previous instance or circumstance which may be taken as a rule in subsequent similar cases; a custom, habit, or rule established," from the adjective precedent "preceding in time, previous, former" (c. 1400), from Old French precedent (also used as a noun) and directly from Latin praecedentum (nominative praecedens), present participle of praecedere "go before" (see precede).
Meaning "thing or person that goes before another" is attested from mid-15c. Specifically in law, "a judicial decision which serves as a rule for future determinations in similar or analogous cases," by 1680s. As a verb meaning "to furnish with a precedent" from 1610s, now only in past participle precedented.
1630s, "to yield, give way," from French céder or directly from Latin cedere "to yield, give place; to give up some right or property," originally "to go from, proceed, leave," from Proto-Italic *kesd-o- "to go away, avoid," from PIE root *ked- "to go, yield."
Original sense in English is now archaic; transitive sense "yield or formally surrender (something) to another" is from 1754. The sense evolution in Latin is via the notion of "to go away, withdraw, give ground." Related: Ceded; ceding.
It forms all or part of: abscess; accede; access; ancestor; antecede; antecedent; cease; cede; cession; concede; decease; exceed; excess; incessant; intercede; necessary; precede; predecessor; proceed; recede; recess; recession; secede; secession; succeed; success.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit sedhati "to drive, chase away;" Avestan apa-had- "turn aside, step aside;" Latin cedere "to yield, give place; to give up some right or property," originally "to go from, proceed, leave;" Old Church Slavonic chodu "a walking, going," choditi "to go."
"act of going before or moving forward, an advance," 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, a phenomenon discovered by Hipparchus (190 B.C.E.-120 B.C.E.).
Alpha Centauri was still visible at the latitude of New York, B. C. 300. Ten thousand years ago its meridian altitude at the latitude of Washington was about 30 degrees. At that time Sirius did not appear above our horizon ; and it is interesting to observe that in our latitude these two magnificent stars can never be within the circle of perpetual occultation at the same time. The whole constellation of the Southern Cross was visible in Southern Europe until after the commencement of historic times. Its brightest star, however, will not reappear in the latitude of New York till about A. D. 20,000. [Prof. Daniel Kirkwood, "Changes in Celestial Scenery," in Our Monthly, July 1871]
The word is attested much older (early 14c.) as an error for procession. Related: Precessional.
early 15c., "a composition, a chronicle, the entire text of a writing," from Latin contextus "a joining together," originally past participle of contexere "to weave together," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + texere "to weave, to make" (from PIE root *teks- "to weave," also "to fabricate").
Meaning "the parts of a writing or discourse which precede or follow, and are directly connected with, some other part referred to or quoted" is from 1560s.