American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Preceding in time or order: "[They] insist that foreign vessels seeking access obtain prior approval” ( Seymour M. Hersh).
- adj. Preceding in importance or value: a prior consideration.
- n. A monastic officer in charge of a priory or ranking next below the abbot of an abbey.
- n. One of the ruling magistrates of the medieval Italian republic of Florence.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Preceding, as in the order of time, of thought, of origin, of dignity, or of importance; in law, senior in point of time: as, a prior and a junior incumbrance.
- Previous: used adverbially, followed by to, like previous. See previous, a.
- n. A superior officer; a superior. Specifically— Eccles., an official in the monastic orders next in dignity and rank to an abbot. Before the thirteen th century he seems to have been called
provost(præpositus) or prelate (prælatus), and prior seems to have meant any superior or senior. If in an abbey, and an assistant of the abbot, he is called a claustral prior; if the superior of a priory—that is, of a monastery of lower than abbatial rank—he is called a conventical or conventual prior. The superiors of the houses of regular canons were always called priors, and the commandants of the priories of the military orders of St. John of Jerusalem, of Malta, and of the Templars were called grand priors. See hegumen.
- n. Formerly, in Italy, a chief magistrate, as in the medieval republic of Florence.
- n. Synonyms Abbot, Prior. See def. .
- adj. Of that which comes before, in advance.
- adj. former, previous
- adv. colloquial Previously.
- n. A high-ranking member of a monastery, usually lower in rank than an abbot.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Preceding in the order of time; former; antecedent; anterior; previous.
- adj. First, precedent, or superior in the order of cognition, reason or generality, origin, development, rank, etc.
- n. (Eccl.) The superior of a priory, and next below an abbot in dignity.
- n. a chief magistrate, as in the republic of Florence in the middle ages.
- n. informal a prior conviction; -- said of an accused criminal.
- adj. earlier in time
- n. the head of a religious order; in an abbey the prior is next below the abbot
- From Latin prior (Wiktionary)
- Latin; see prior2.Middle English priour, from Old English and Old French prior, both from Medieval Latin, from Latin, superior; see per1 in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The term 'prior express consent' means the oral or written approval of a person...”
“Nobody had used the term prior to that apart from the Romans who invented it 2000 years earlier.”
“The prior bore the title prior ecclesia S. Maria de Metro.”
“With the Cluniac reform the term prior received a specific meaning; it supplanted the provost”
“In the Rule of St. Benedict the term prior occurs several times, but does does not signify any particular superior; it is indiscriminately applied to any superior, be he abbot, provost, dean, etc.”
“Hirschau, which arose in Germany in the eleventh century, the term prior was also substituted for provost, and the example of the”
“The way we're playing it would be really great to win another title prior to heading to Paris.”
“This season would be the first time since NASCAR's Chase format was introduced in 2004 that a driver wrapped up the title prior to the finale.”
“Gay men are relentless in their pursuit of musical kitsch, and Taylor Swift is lucky enough to have been gifted with this label prior to fading into anonymity.”
“Not, however, until the owners voted on the new title prior to the 1968 season.”
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