This word has a variety of meanings. In the phrase "a precipate of history" (from Geertz's summary of Kluckhohn), the word is being used to make an analogy betweeen the chemical process by which a solid substance is created in a liquid solution (after which it falls to the bottom of the test tube) and the process by which culture (analogous to the solid) is formed within and from the material of history (the liquid). "Precipitation," a noun, is most commonly used to refer to rain- or snow-fall; "to precipitate," a verb, means to cause something to occur.
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