set a precedent

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set a precedent

To do something that establishes a standard, pattern, or policy that will be used in the future. The court's decision in this case will set a precedent that affects the lives of all citizens going forward. I'd rather that you don't let Tommy eat his dinner in front of the television—I don't want to set a bad precedent for mealtimes.
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Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

set a precedent

to establish a pattern; to set a policy that must be followed in future cases. I'll do what you ask this time, but it doesn't set a precedent. We've already set a precedent in matters such as these.
See also: set
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

set a precedent

Establish a usage, tradition, or standard to be followed in the future. For example, He set a precedent by having the chaplain lead the academic procession. The word precedent here signifies a previous instance or legal decision upon which future instances are based, a usage dating from the early 1400s. In British and American law it more specifically refers to a legal decision that may be used as a standard in subsequent cases.
See also: set
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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