a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | w | x | y | z |


PRE-CEP'TOR, n. [L. præceptor. See Precept.]

  1. In a general sense, a teacher; an instructor.
  2. In a restricted sense, the teacher of a school; sometimes, the principal teacher of an academy or other seminary.


Pertaining to a preceptor. – Lit. Magazine.


Giving precepts. – Anderson.


A subordinate religious house where instruction was given.


A female teacher.

PRE-CES'SION, n. [Fr. precession; It. precessione; from the L. præcessus, præcedo, to go before.]

  1. Literally, the act of going before.
  2. In astronomy, the precession of the equinox, is an annual motion of the equinox, or point where the ecliptic intersects the equator, to the westward, amounting to 50 1/3”. This precession was discovered by Hipparchus, a century and a half before the Christian era, though it is alledged that the astronomers of India had discovered it long before. At that time, the point of the autumnal equinox was about six degrees to the eastward of the star called spica virginis. In 1750, that is, about nineteen hundred years after, this point was observed to be about 20° 21' westward of that star. Hence it appears that the equinoctial points will make an entire revolution in about 25,745 years.

PRE'CINCT, n. [L. præcinctus, præcingo, to encompass; præ and cingo, to surround or gird.]

  1. The limit, bound or exterior line encompassing a place; as, the precincts of light. – Milton.
  2. Bounds of jurisdiction, or the whole territory comprehended within the limits of authority. Take the body of A. B., if to be found within your precincts. – Technical Laws.
  3. A territorial district or division. It is to be observed that this word is generally used in the plural, except in the third sense. In case of non-acceptance [of the collector] the parish or precinct shall proceed to a new choice. – Laws of Massachusetts.


for Preciousness or value, not used. – Brown. More.

PRE'CIOUS, a. [Fr. precieux; L. pretiosus, from pretium, price. See Praise.]

  1. One of great price; costly; as, a precious stone.
  2. Of great value or worth; very valuable. She is more precious than rubies. – Prov. iii.
  3. Highly valued; much esteemed. The word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision. – 1 Sam. iii.
  4. Worthless; in irony and contempt. Precious metals, gold and silver, so called on account of their value.


  1. Valuably; to a great price.
  2. Contemptibly; in irony.


Valuableness; great value; high price. – Wilkins.

PREC'I-PE, n. [pres'ipy; L. præcipio. See Precept.]

In law, a writ commanding the defendant to do a certain thing, or to show cause to the contrary; giving him his choice to redress the injury or to stand the suit. – Blackstone.

PREC'I-PICE, n. [Fr. from L. præcipitium, from præceps, headlong; præ, forward, and ceps, for caput, head. See Chief.]

  1. Strictly, a falling headlong; hence, a steep descent of land; a fall or descent of land, perpendicular or nearly so. Where wealth, like fruit, on precipices grew. – Dryden.
  2. A steep descent in general. In the breaking of the waves there is ever a precipice. – Bacon. Swift down the precipice of time it goes. – Dryden.

PRE-CIP'I-ENT, a. [L. præcipiens. See Precept.]

Commanding; directing.

PRE-CIP-I-TA-BIL'I-TY, n. [from precipitable.]

The quality or state of being precipitable.

PRE-CIP'I-TA-BLE, a. [from L. præcipito, from præceps, headlong.]

That may be precipitated or cast to the bottom, as a substance in solution.

PRE-CIP'I-TANCE, or PRE-CIP'I-TAN-CY, n. [from precipitant.]

  1. Headlong hurry; rash haste; haste in resolving, forming an opinion or executing a purpose without due deliberation. Hurried on by the precipitance of youth. – Swift. Rashness and precipitance of judgment. – Watts.
  2. Hurry; great haste in going. – Milton.

PRE-CIP'I-TANT, a. [L. præcipitans, præcipito, from præceps, headlong.]

  1. Falling or rushing headlong; rushing down with velocity. They leave their little lives / Above the clouds, precipitant to earth. – Philips.
  2. Hasty; urged with violent haste. Should he return, that troop so blithe and bold, / Precipitant in fear, would wing their flight. – Pope.
  3. Rashly hurried or hasty; as, precipitant rebellion. – K. Charles.
  4. Unexpectedly brought on or hastened. – Taylor.


In chimistry, a liquor, which when poured on a solution, separates what is dissolved and makes it precipitate, or fall to the bottom in a concrete state. – Encyc.


With great haste; with rash unadvised haste; with tumultuous hurry. – Milton.


  1. Falling, flowing or rushing with steep descent. Precipitate the furious torrent flows. – Prior.
  2. Headlong; over hasty; rashly hasty; as, the king was too precipitate in declaring war.
  3. Adopted with haste or without due deliberation; hasty; as, a precipitate measure.
  4. Hasty; violent; terminating speedily in death; as, a precipitate case of disease. – Arbuthnot.


A substance which, having been dissolved, is again separated from its solvent and thrown to the bottom of the vessel by pouring another liquor upon it. Precipitate per se, or Red precipitate, the red oxyd or protoxyd of mercury. – Thomson.


  1. To fall headlong. – Shak.
  2. To fall to the bottom of a vessel, as sediment, or any substance in solution. – Bacon.
  3. To hasten without preparation. – Bacon.

PRE-CIP'I-TATE, v.t. [L. præcipito, from præceps, headlong. See Precipice.]

  1. To throw headlong; as, he precipitated himself from a rock. – Milton. Dryden.
  2. To urge or press with eagerness or violence; as, to precipitate a flight. – Dryden.
  3. To hasten. Short intermittent and swift recurrent pains do precipitate patients into consumptions. – Harvey.
  4. To hurry blindly or rashly. If they be daring, it may precipitate their designs and prove dangerous. – Bacon.
  5. To throw to the bottom of a vessel; as a substance in solution. All metals may be precipitated by alkaline salts. – Encyc.


Hurried; hastened rashly; thrown headlong.