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From Middle English decre, decree, from Old French decré (French décret), from Latin dēcrētum.



decree (plural decrees)

  1. An edict or law.
    • Bible, Luke ii. 1
      There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
    • Shakespeare
      Poor hand, why quiverest thou at this decree?
  2. (law) The judicial decision in a litigated cause rendered by a court of equity.
  3. (law) The determination of a cause in a court of admiralty or court of probate.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (Can we clean up(+) this sense?) It is accurate to use the word judgment for a decision of a court of law, and decree from a court of equity, although the former term now includes both.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


decree (third-person singular simple present decrees, present participle decreeing, simple past and past participle decreed)

  1. To command by a decree.
    A court decrees a restoration of property.
    • Bible, Job xxii. 28
      Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee.



Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of decre