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praefect

[pree-fekt]
See more synonyms for praefect on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. prefect.
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prefect

or prae·fect

[pree-fekt]
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.
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Origin of prefect

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 formssub·pre·fect, nounun·der·pre·fect, noun
Can be confusedperfect prefect (see usage note at perfect)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for praefect

Historical Examples

  • The praefect himself, mayhap, would bid for her, or the imperator's agents!

    "Unto Caesar"

    Baroness Emmuska Orczy

  • "There is no cook from Gaul on the list," interposed the praefect curtly.

    "Unto Caesar"

    Baroness Emmuska Orczy

  • They had exchanged greetings with the praefect and with Hortensius Martius.

    "Unto Caesar"

    Baroness Emmuska Orczy

  • Did Nolus and Dion find it difficult to approach the praefect's body?

    "Unto Caesar"

    Baroness Emmuska Orczy

  • At an order from the praefect the auction sale was abruptly suspended.

    "Unto Caesar"

    Baroness Emmuska Orczy


British Dictionary definitions for praefect

praefect

Derived Formspraefectorial (ˌpriːfɛkˈtɔːrɪəl), adjective

prefect

noun
  1. (in France, Italy, etc) the chief administrative officer in a department
  2. (in France, etc) the head of a police force
  3. British a schoolchild appointed to a position of limited power over his fellows
  4. (in ancient Rome) any of several magistrates or military commanders
  5. Also called: prefect apostolic RC Church 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
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Also (for senses 4–7): praefect
Derived Formsprefectorial (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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper