"a leader or director of a church choir or congregation in singing," 1610s, from Late Latin praecentor "a leader in singing," from Latin praecantare "to sing before," from prae "before" (see pre-) + canere "to sing" (from PIE root *kan- "to sing"). For change of vowel, see biennial.
<a href="https://www.etymonline.com/word/precent">Etymology of precent by etymonline</a>
Harper, D. (n.d.). Etymology of precent. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved $(datetime), from https://www.etymonline.com/word/precent