[Medieval Latin precipe , legal writ commanding a person to do something or show cause why he or she should not, from Latin praecipe , imperative of praecipere to give rules or precepts, admonish, enjoin]
: a written request for an action (as the issuing of a writ of execution) from a party to a clerk of a court or sometimes to a judge [filed a for the writ of scire facias] [shall issue upon of the plaintiff] NOTE: When addressed to a clerk, a praecipe is usually a request for some action that does not require immediate judicial review, such as the issuing of a subpoena or the preparing of a record for appellate review. When addressed to a judge, as for jury instructions in some jurisdictions, a praecipe is similar to a motion. A praecipe originally was a writ issued by the king to a sheriff, telling the sheriff to command someone to do something (as to release land being withheld from another).
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.