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.

Definitions of precede
  1. verb
    be earlier in time; go back further
    “Stone tools precede bronze tools”
    synonyms: antecede, antedate, forego, forgo, predate
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    follow, postdate
    be later in time
    come after, follow
    come after in time, as a result
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  2. verb
    move ahead (of others) in time or space
    synonyms: lead
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    to travel behind, go after, come after
    head, lead
    travel in front of; go in advance of others
    draw away
    move ahead of (one's competitors) in a race
    type of:
    go, locomote, move, travel
    change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically
  3. verb
    be the predecessor of
    “Bill preceded John in the long line of Susan's husbands”
    synonyms: come before
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    come after, follow, succeed
    be the successor (of)
  4. verb
    come before
    “Most English adjectives precede the noun they modify”
    synonyms: predate
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    type of:
    be located or situated somewhere; occupy a certain position
  5. verb
    furnish with a preface or introduction
    “She always precedes her lectures with a joke”
    synonyms: introduce, preface, premise
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    make a preliminary introduction, usually to a formal document
    prologise, prologize, prologuize
    write or speak a prologue
    type of:
    say, state, tell
    express in words
Commonly confused words

precede / proceed

These two words have similar sounds. They also have similar definitions, encompassing an idea of forward movement. This leads to some confusion.

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