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praefect

[pree-fekt] /ˈpri fɛkt/
noun
1.

prefect

or praefect

[pree-fekt] /ˈpri fɛkt/
noun
1.
a person appointed to any of various positions of command, authority, or superintendence, as a chief magistrate in ancient Rome or the chief administrative official of a department of France or Italy.
2.
Roman Catholic Church.
  1. the dean of a Jesuit school or college.
  2. a cardinal in charge of a congregation in the Curia Romana.
3.
Chiefly British. a praeposter.
Origin of prefect
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English < Latin praefectus overseer, director (noun use of past participle of praeficere to make prior, i.e., put in charge), equivalent to prae- pre- + -fectus (combining form of factus, past participle of facere to make, do1); see fact
Related forms
subprefect, noun
underprefect, noun
Can be confused
perfect, prefect (see usage note at perfect)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for praefect
Historical Examples
  • "Thou didst endeavour to defraud the State for purposes of thine own," interposed the praefect calmly.

    "Unto Caesar" Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • At an order from the praefect the auction sale was abruptly suspended.

    "Unto Caesar" Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • But at her words the last vestige of deference fled from the praefect's manner; pity now would have been weak folly.

    "Unto Caesar" Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • "If it be in my power," responded the praefect, rousing himself from his reverie.

    "Unto Caesar" Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • And then did a cry of horror escape my lips, and the praefect looked down into my face.

    "Unto Caesar" Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • Did Nolus and Dion find it difficult to approach the praefect's body?

    "Unto Caesar" Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • The frown on the praefect's forehead became even more marked than before.

    "Unto Caesar" Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • "God in heaven grant that it may, O Cæsar," said the praefect fervently.

    "Unto Caesar" Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • The praefect in the discharge of his functions—second only to the Cæsar—was all-powerful where he stood.

    "Unto Caesar" Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • Many there were in Rome who at this moment would gladly have changed places with the praefect.

    "Unto Caesar" Baroness Emmuska Orczy
British Dictionary definitions for praefect

praefect

/ˈpriːfɛkt/
noun
1.
a variant spelling of prefect (sense 4), prefect (sense 5), prefect (sense 6), prefect (sense 7)
Derived Forms
praefectorial (ˌpriːfɛkˈtɔːrɪəl) adjective

prefect

/ˈpriːfɛkt/
noun
1.
(in France, Italy, etc) the chief administrative officer in a department
2.
(in France, etc) the head of a police force
3.
(Brit) a schoolchild appointed to a position of limited power over his fellows
4.
(in ancient Rome) any of several magistrates or military commanders
5.
(RC Church) Also called prefect apostolic. an official having jurisdiction over a missionary district that has no ordinary
6.
(RC Church) one of two senior masters in a Jesuit school or college (the prefect of studies and the prefect of discipline or first prefect)
7.
(RC Church) a cardinal in charge of a congregation of the Curia
Also (for senses 4–7) praefect
Derived Forms
prefectorial (ˌpriːfɛkˈtɔːrɪəl) adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin praefectus one put in charge, from praeficere to place in authority over, from prae before + facere to do, make
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for praefect

prefect

n.

mid-14c., "civil or military official," from Old French prefect (12c., Modern French préfet) and directly from Latin praefectus "public overseer, superintendent, director," noun use of past participle of praeficere "to put in front, to set over, put in authority," from prae "in front, before" (see pre-) + root of facere (past participle factus) "to perform" (see factitious). Spelling restored from Middle English prefet. Meaning "administrative head of the Paris police" is from 1800; meaning "senior pupil designated to keep order in an English school" is from 1864. Related: Prefectorial.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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15
17
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