One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A thing already known; especially a thing needed or assumed to be known in order to infer or ascertain something else. Frequently in plural: basic assumptions, principles.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in William Laud (1573–1645), archbishop of Canterbury. From post-classical Latin praecognitum thing already known, use as noun of classical Latin praecognitum, neuter past participle of praecognōscere to know beforehand.
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