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1. The act or state of preceding; precedence.
2. Physics The motion of the axis of a spinning body, such as the wobble of a spinning top, when there is an external force acting on the axis.
3. Astronomy
a. Precession of the equinoxes.
b. A slow gyration of the earth's rotational axis around the pole of the ecliptic, caused by the gravitational pull of the sun, moon, and other planets on the earth's equatorial bulge.

[Late Latin praecessiō, praecessiōn-, from Latin praecessus, past participle of praecēdere, to go before; see precede.]

pre·ces′sion·al adj.


1. the act of preceding
2. (Astronomy) See precession of the equinoxes
3. (General Physics) the motion of a spinning body, such as a top, gyroscope, or planet, in which it wobbles so that the axis of rotation sweeps out a cone
[C16: from Late Latin praecessiō a going in advance, from Latin praecēdere to precede]
preˈcessional adj preˈcessionally adv


(priˈsɛʃ ən)

1. the act or fact of preceding; precedence.
2. the movement of the axis of rotation of a spinning body around another axis, outside the body and at an angle to it: an effect exhibited by a spinning top or gyroscope.
3. the slow, conical motion of the earth's axis of rotation caused by forces exerted on the earth by the sun and moon and responsible for the precession of the equinoxes.
[1300–50; < Late Latin praecessiō a going before, advance, derivative (with -tiō -tion) of praecēdere to precede]
pre•ces′sion•al, adj.
See: apparent precession.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.precession - the motion of a spinning body (as a top) in which it wobbles so that the axis of rotation sweeps out a cone
motion - a state of change; "they were in a state of steady motion"
2.precession - the act of preceding in time or order or rank (as in a ceremony)
activity - any specific behavior; "they avoided all recreational activity"


nPrazession f; precession of the equinoxes (Astron) → Prazession fder Aquinoktien
References in classic literature ?
Another finds that the phenomena of precession and nutation require that the earth, if not entirely solid, must at least have a shell not less than eight hundred to a thousand miles in thickness.
He was a stern, gaunt man, with a harsh voice, and an aggressive manner, but he had the merit of knowing how to assimilate the ideas of other men, and to pass them on in a way which was intelligible and even interesting to the lay public, with a happy knack of being funny about the most unlikely objects, so that the precession of the Equinox or the formation of a vertebrate became a highly humorous process as treated by him.