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order of precedence

n. A ranking of items by a chosen attribute, especially: a sequential hierarchy of nominal importance of people in royal courts and in governments.

Order of precedence

Order of precedence is a sequential hierarchy of nominal importance of items. Most often it is used in the context of people by many organizations and governments, for very formal and state occasions, especially where diplomats are present. It can also be used in the context of decorations, medals and awards. Historically, the order of precedence had a more widespread use, especially in court and aristocratic life.

One's position in an order of precedence is not necessarily an indication of functional importance, but rather an indication of ceremonial or historical relevance; for instance, it may dictate where dignitaries are seated at formal dinners. The term is occasionally used to mean the order of succession—to determine who replaces the head of state in the event he or she is removed from office or incapacitated.

What follows are the general orders of precedence for different countries for state purposes, such as diplomatic dinners, and are made under the assumption that such functions are held in the capital. When they are held in another city or region, local officials such as governors would be much higher up the order. There may also be more specific and local orders of precedence, for particular occasions or within particular institutions. Universities and the professions often have their own rules of precedence applying locally, based (for example) on university or professional rank, each rank then being ordered within itself on the basis of seniority (i.e. date of attaining that rank). Within an institution the officials of that institution are likely to rank much higher in the order than in a general order of precedence—the chancellor or president of a university may well precede anyone except a head of state for example. The same might be true for a mayor in his own city.

Usage examples of "order of precedence".

In precise order of precedence, the rest of the chariots in Efilnath's party followed, Caffer jumping up into his car when it came past him.

Other twelves and a few eights waited their turn to sidle up to the vessel in the order of precedence of their passengers.

The military tribunes were choosing the centurions, not in order of precedence, but picking out the best men, and twenty-three centurions of the front rank appealed to the tribunes of the plebs.

Nature had here taken a leap and cut away from the order of precedence of faculties and talents, the thing now became mystic and inexplicable, as ever where you are dealing with genius.

Yet when Farrell asked them where they went to school, they fell effortlessly into standard California English, chattering about grades and recess enemies as eagerly as they had just debated the order of precedence at a royal banquet.

The order of precedence had to be established before higher negotiations could begin.

Meals were all served formally at Wawel Castle , with every lord seated by his lady in strict order of precedence.

They arranged themselves in a double line in an order of precedence which they seemed to know well.

Inside, she was confronted by her parents, her mother-in-law and Guilford, with other noble persons, all standing in order of precedence before the empty throne, which waited beneath a canopy of estate.

So she tossed her pretty head, and taking Don Pedro by the hand, she walked slowly down the steps towards a long pavilion of purple silk that had been erected at the end of the garden, the other children following in strict order of precedence, those who had the longest names going first.