PRECEPT (Lat. praeceptum, a rule, from praecipere, literally to take beforehand, to give rules, instructions or orders), a command or rule, especially one with regard to conduct or action, a moral rule or injunction, a maxim. Apart from this general use, the word was used, in law, of many orders in writing issuing from a court or other legal authority; it is now chiefly used of an order demanding the payment of money under a rate by poor law or other local authorities (see RATE). The Latin form praecipe, i.e. enjoin, command, is used of the note of instructions delivered by a plaintiff or his solicitor to be filed by the officer of the court, giving the names of the plaintiff and defendant, the nature of the writ, etc. For the obsolete writ of praecipe quod reddat see WRIT.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)