Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun 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.

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

Etymologies

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

[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.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

Examples

  • [166] The praetor -- The _praetor urbanus_, or city praetor, who decided all causes between citizens, and passed sentence on debtors.

    Conspiracy of Catiline and the Jurgurthine War

  • This praetor was no doubt propraetor of the province of Africa, sent thither from Rome to undertake the regular administration, but he was at the same time placed at the disposal of the consul Marius; for as a propraetor had the _jus praetorem_ in his province, he was sometimes simply called praetor; thus Verres is often called praetor of Sicily.

    C. Sallusti Crispi De Bello Catilinario Et Jugurthino

  • Quintus was coming to the end of his term as praetor and was heavily in debt and apprehensive about what province he might draw in the forthcoming lottery.

    CONSPIRATA

  • Ambitious Romans aimed for the consulship soon after their term as praetor.

    The Spartacus War

  • Ambitious Romans aimed for the consulship soon after their term as praetor.

    The Spartacus War

  • Ambitious Romans aimed for the consulship soon after their term as praetor.

    The Spartacus War

  • Ambitious Romans aimed for the consulship soon after their term as praetor.

    The Spartacus War

  • Cicero, who was praetor that year (the praetor was the magistrate next in rank to the consul), defended Cluentius, and told his client's whole story.

    Roman life in the days of Cicero

  • However, as I said, a stem zil forms the basis of many verbal derivatives zili, zilχ, zilχnce, zilace, etc., so I suspect that zilaθ wasn't intended as a noun specifically meaning "praetor" as usually claimed.

    Contradictions with authors' accounts of Etruscan word Rasna

  • Now perhaps zil simply means something to the effect of "to put in power" however the above inscription does not indicate a noun meaning "praetor".

    Contradictions with authors' accounts of Etruscan word Rasna

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