- 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.
- Roman Catholic Church.
- the dean of a Jesuit school or college.
- a cardinal in charge of a congregation in the Curia Romana.
- Chiefly British. a praeposter.
Origin of prefect
Examples from the Web for praefect
"There is no cook from Gaul on the list," interposed the praefect curtly.
They had exchanged greetings with the praefect and with Hortensius Martius.
The praefect himself, mayhap, would bid for her, or the imperator's agents!
Did Nolus and Dion find it difficult to approach the praefect's body?
At an order from the praefect the auction sale was abruptly suspended.
- (in France, Italy, etc) the chief administrative officer in a department
- (in France, etc) the head of a police force
- British a schoolchild appointed to a position of limited power over his fellows
- (in ancient Rome) any of several magistrates or military commanders
- Also called: prefect apostolic RC Church an official having jurisdiction over a missionary district that has no ordinary
- 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)
- RC Church a cardinal in charge of a congregation of the Curia
Word Origin and History for praefect
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.