To precede is to come before. A short speech will precede the dinner. As you walk down the garden path, the bed of roses precedes the holly bush. When marching into the room, the younger kids precede the older ones.
Precede is one of many verbs ending in "-ceed" or "-cede" that trace their roots back to the Latin word cedere which means "to go." For precede, know that it's pre "first" + cedere "go." When you precede, you go first. You might precede your best friend in line, lunch might precede math class, a joke might precede a lecture, and radio preceded television. Anything that goes first or comes before precedes.