or pre·tor

  1. (in the ancient Roman republic) one of a number of elected magistrates charged chiefly with the administration of civil justice and ranking next below a consul.

Origin of praetor

1375–1425; late Middle English pretor < Latin praetor, for *praeitor leader, literally, one going before, equivalent to *praei-, variant stem of praeīre to go before, lead (prae- prae- + -i-, base of īre to go) + -tor -tor
Related formsprae·to·ri·al [pree-tawr-ee-uh l, -tohr-] /priˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr-/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for praetor

Historical Examples of praetor

  • He ordered the praetor of the city to arrest the Pope and conduct him to prison.

  • As if the praetor should fairly dismiss him from the stage, whom he had taken in to act a while.


    Marcus Aurelius

  • He must at all events to the praetor; a pity, so young and so rich!

    The Last Days of Pompeii

    Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

  • Officers, remove the accused Glaucus—remove, but guard him yet,' said the praetor.

    The Last Days of Pompeii

    Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

  • Hasten with this, Davus, to the praetor, at the amphitheatre.

    The Last Days of Pompeii

    Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

British Dictionary definitions for praetor



  1. (in ancient Rome) any of several senior magistrates ranking just below the consuls
Derived Formspraetorial or pretorial, adjectivepraetorship or pretorship, noun

Word Origin for praetor

C15: from Latin: one who leads the way, probably from praeīre, from prae- before + īre to go
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 praetor

elected magistrate in ancient Rome (subordinate to consuls), early 15c., from Latin praetor "one who goes before;" originally "a consul as leader of an army," from prae "before" (see pre-) + root of ire "to go" (see ion).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper