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prior1

[prahy-er]
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adjective
  1. preceding in time or in order; earlier or former; previous: A prior agreement prevents me from accepting this.
  2. preceding in importance or privilege.
noun
  1. Informal. a prior conviction.
Idioms
  1. prior to, preceding; before: Prior to that time, buffalo had roamed the Great Plains in tremendous numbers.

Origin of prior1

1705–15; < Latin: former, elder, superior (adj.), before (adv.); akin to prime, pre-
Related formspri·or·ly, adverb

Synonyms

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1. anterior, antecedent.

prior2

[prahy-er]
noun
  1. an officer in a monastic order or religious house, sometimes next in rank below an abbot.
  2. a chief magistrate, as in the medieval republic of Florence.

Origin of prior2

before 1100; Middle English, late Old English < Medieval Latin, Late Latin: one superior in rank; noun use of prior prior1
Related formspri·or·ship, nounsub·pri·or·ship, noun

Prior

[prahy-er]
noun
  1. Matthew,1664–1721, English poet.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for prior

prior1

adjective
  1. (prenominal) previous; preceding
  2. prior to before; until
noun
  1. statistics a prior probability

Word Origin

C18: from Latin: previous

prior2

noun
  1. the superior of a house and community in certain religious orders
  2. the deputy head of a monastery or abbey, ranking immediately below the abbot
  3. (formerly) a chief magistrate in medieval Florence and other Italian republics

Word Origin

C11: from Late Latin: head, from Latin (adj): previous, from Old Latin pri before

Prior

noun
  1. Matthew. 1664–1721, English poet and diplomat, noted for his epigrammatic occasional verse
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

Word Origin and History for prior

adj.

"earlier," 1714, from Latin prior "former, previous, first;" figuratively "superior, better;" as a noun "forefather; superior rank;" comparative of Old Latin pri "before," from PIE *prai-, *prei-, from root *per- (1) "forward, through" (see per).

n.

"superior officer of a religious house or order," late Old English, from Medieval Latin prior "superior officer," noun use of Latin adjective meaning "former, superior" (see prior (adj.)). As short for prior arrest, by 1990, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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