Definitions

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

  • n. An exclusive right or privilege held by a person or group, especially a hereditary or official right. See Synonyms at right.
  • n. The exclusive right and power to command, decide, rule, or judge: the principal's prerogative to suspend a student.
  • n. A special quality that confers superiority.
  • adj. Of, arising from, or exercising a prerogative.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A hereditary or official right or privilege.
  • n. A right, or power that is exclusive to a monarch etc, especially such a power to make a decision or judgement.
  • n. A right, generally
  • n. A property, attribute or ability which gives one a superiority or advantage over others; an inherent advantage or privilege; a talent.
  • adj. Having a hereditary or official right or privilege.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An exclusive or peculiar privilege; prior and indefeasible right; fundamental and essential possession; -- used generally of an official and hereditary right which may be asserted without question, and for the exercise of which there is no responsibility or accountability as to the fact and the manner of its exercise.
  • n. Precedence; preëminence; first rank.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Called upon to vote first; having the right to vote first.
  • Entitled to precedence; superior.
  • Pertaining to, characteristic of, or held by prerogative or privileged right.
  • n. The right of voting first; precedence in voting.
  • n. A peculiar privilege; a characteristic right inhering in one's nature; a special property or quality.
  • n. Specifically, a privilege inherent in one's office or position; an official right; an exclusive or sovereign privilege, in theory subject to no restriction or interference, but practically often limited by other similar rights or prerogatives; more specifically still, the royal prerogative.
  • n. Precedence; superiority in power, rank, or quality.
  • n. In New Jersey, a court held by the chancellor sitting as ordinary in probate and similar causes.
  • To endow with a prerogative.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a right reserved exclusively by a particular person or group (especially a hereditary or official right)

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin praerogātīva, feminine of praerogātīvus, asked first, from praerogātus, past participle of praerogāre, to ask before : prae-, pre- + rogāre, to ask; see reg- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the Anglo-Norman noun prerogative, from Latin praerogātīva ("previous verdict; claim, privilege"), noun use of the feminine singular of praerogātīvus ("having first vote; privileged"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • NEWMYER: Well, a writ of mandamus is an ancient sort of common law, what we call a prerogative writ.

    John Marshall and the Heroic Age of the Supreme Court

  • Faced with the intention of David Milliband to press on and attempt to ratify the first Lisbon Treaty through the House Of Lords today, Wednesday June 18th, Bill Cash made an application to the High Court yesterday that the royal prerogative is being used illegally.

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • Personal prerogative is lost amidst the world of law and order that ignores humans and humanity.

    Subverting Patriarchy: Not just for chicks anymore. « A Bird’s Nest

  • The issue of preventive war as a presidential prerogative is hardly new.

    Think Progress » ThinkFast: April 24, 2006

  • This question, divested of the phraseology calculated to represent me as struggling for an arbitrary personal prerogative, is either simply a question who shall decide, or an affirmation that nobody shall decide, what the public safety does require, in cases of Rebellion of Invasion.

    Balkinization

  • Angels are grieved when God's prerogative is in the least infringed.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • In the exercise of mercy, there should be no doubt left that the high prerogative is not used to relieve a few at the expense of the many.

    The Punishment of Treason

  • Their leaders have learned the hard way that, within their well-managed tropical island states, no election verdict, no constitutional custom or habit, no parliament’s decision, no ordinary citizen’s commonplace prerogative is safe from an intrusive America whose caprices and policies are neither fairer, nor more predictable, nor more morally conscionable than the vagaries of hurricanes.

    Happy Independence Day, Haiti

  • Because when we can use the federal courts, the federal courts to force the Catholic church not to use what is its prerogative, that is and exercise its rights to enforce discipline in its schools, and not be permitted to use the same federal court system and the federal legal system to bring a prohibition against sanctuary cities, cities that are actually rogues when it comes to enforcement of U.S. law, we're upside-down.

    CNN Transcript Aug 17, 2008

  • Because when we can use the federal court, the federal courts, to force the Catholic Church not to use what is its prerogative, that is, exercise its rights to enforce discipline in its schools and not be permitted to use the same federal court system in the federal legal system to bring a prohibition against sanctuary cities, cities that are actually rogues when it comes to enforcement of U.S. law, we're upside down.

    CNN Transcript Aug 13, 2008

Comments

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  • Yes, milos, perogative is incorrect. Wordnik Examples displays instances of the sorry state of written and spoken language:

    "Jesus main perogative was to address the failures of the market system established by Judaism, this does not mean Judaism was evil or anything of the sort." —Conservapedia - Recent changes"

    Will Wordnik become a bastion and archive of displays of the depressing ignorance of spelling and horrible grammar rife on-line, as it indiscriminately trolls the Internet to amass examples of spellings and usages? I hope not!

    May 24, 2010

  • Often metathesized to perogative, which is wrong.

    May 24, 2010

  • And provide a bowl of fresh water for it every day.

    May 24, 2010

  • exercise your prerogative

    May 23, 2010