This expression, dating from the s, alludes to the practice of marking the ears of cattle and sheep to show ownership. Figuratively, earmarked is often used in regard to monetary allocations although it is heard in other contexts as well. McKenna, Happy Ending , When dividing their quarry, the lion claimed three fourths as his: one fourth as his just share, one fourth because of his great courage, and one fourth for his lioness and cubs. The lion offered the remaining fourth to any of the fellow-hunters who was able to defeat him in a fight. The intimidated animals declined the challenge, however, and left empty-handed.
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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. Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. 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.
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