Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An annually elected magistrate of the ancient Roman Republic, ranking below but having approximately the same functions as a consul.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The title designating a Roman administrative official whose role changed over time:
  • n. A high civic or administrative official, especially a chief magistrate or mayor. Sometimes used as a title.
  • n. The title of the chief magistrate, the mayor, and/or the podestà in Palermo, in Verona, and in various other parts of Italy.

Etymologies

Middle English pretor, from Old French, from Latin praetor, perhaps from praeīre, to go before : prae-, pre- + īre, to go; see ei- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the Anglo-Norman pretour, pretore, the Middle French preteur (from the Old French pretor; compare the Modern French préteur), and their etymon, the Classical Latin praetor ("leader”, “commander”, “magistrate"); the Latin praetor being contracted from *praeitor ("one who goes before"), from praeeō ("I go before"), from prae ("before") +  ("I go"); compare the Italian pretore, the Portuguese pretor, and the Spanish pretor. (Wiktionary)

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