mid-15c., "neither more nor less than, with no error; exactly stated or marked off; definitely or strictly expressed; distinguished with precision from all others," from Old 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, combining form of caedere "to cut" (from PIE root *kae-id- "to strike"). For the Latin vowel change, see acquisition. Related: Precisely (late 14c.).