Notice the verb "precede" in the noun precedence, and you'll be able to remember that precedence is the act of preceding, of coming before — either in time or in rank.

When you're stranded without food or water, the search for water should definitely take precedence over the search for food, since you'll die of dehydration long before you starve. When deciding where to seat people, restaurant owners give precedence to the famous and rich: making them happy will be good for business. Which things take precedence over others depends on what you think is more important. "Age before beauty," I always say.

Definitions of precedence
  1. noun
    status established in order of importance or urgency
    “...its precedence as the world's leading manufacturer of pharmaceuticals”
    synonyms: precedency, priority
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    back burner
    reduced priority
    front burner
    top priority
    type of:
    high status
    a position of superior status
  2. noun
    preceding in time
    synonyms: antecedence, antecedency, anteriority, precedency, priority
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    posteriority, subsequence, subsequentness
    following in time
    type of:
    quality of coming early or earlier in time
  3. noun
    the act of preceding in time or order or rank (as in a ceremony)
    synonyms: precedency, precession
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    type of:
    any specific behavior
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘precedence'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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