- preceding in time or in order; earlier or former; previous: A prior agreement prevents me from accepting this.
- preceding in importance or privilege.
- Informal. a prior conviction.
- prior to, preceding; before: Prior to that time, buffalo had roamed the Great Plains in tremendous numbers.
Origin of prior1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- an officer in a monastic order or religious house, sometimes next in rank below an abbot.
- a chief magistrate, as in the medieval republic of Florence.
Origin of prior2
- Matthew,1664–1721, English poet.
Examples from the Web for prior
He was one of few outspoken activists in Syria prior to the uprising that took a place in March of 2011.Behind Bars for the Holidays: 11 Political Prisoners We Want to See Free In 2015
December 25, 2014
In fact, he was in contact with Lansky prior to converging from the hillside onto the streets of Havana.Will Hyman Roth Return to Havana With Normalized Relations?
John L. Smith
December 18, 2014
“In the months prior to that, when we started taking prisoners [in Afghanistan], we were improvising,” he said.CIA Interrogation Chief: ‘Rectal Feeding,’ Broken Limbs Are News to Me
December 11, 2014
And prior to that day, it shocked me a lot, it shocked me a lot.90 Seconds of Fury in Ferguson Are the Key to Making Peace in America
November 26, 2014
The cop was not named, but was identified as an African-American veteran of the division with no prior infractions.The 14 Teens Killed by Cops Since Michael Brown
November 25, 2014
Have we not all an interest in it, and a prior right, if right were to have taken place?Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
When he had come to where the Prior sat, he knelt upon one knee.
Beside the Bishop rode the Prior of Emmet upon a mincing palfrey.
Then the first word that the Prior said to him was "Hast thou brought my money?"
I was afraid you might have had some prior engagement, and would have found it impossible to be with us.'A Woman Intervenes
- (prenominal) previous; preceding
- prior to before; until
- statistics a prior probability
- the superior of a house and community in certain religious orders
- the deputy head of a monastery or abbey, ranking immediately below the abbot
- (formerly) a chief magistrate in medieval Florence and other Italian republics
- Matthew. 1664–1721, English poet and diplomat, noted for his epigrammatic occasional verse
Word Origin and History for prior
"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).
"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.