or pre-em·i·nence

[ pree-em-uh-nuhns ]
/ priˈɛm ə nəns /
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the state or character of being preeminent.
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Origin of preeminence

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English word from Late Latin word praeēminentia.See preeminent, -ence
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does preeminence mean?

Preeminence is the state of being preeminent—extremely distinguished, outstanding, or superior to all (or the majority of) others.

The word eminent means high in station, rank, or reputation, and its noun form, eminence, refers to a position of superiority, high rank or status, or fame.

Someone who is considered eminent is usually both well-known and well-respected, especially within a particular field. Preeminence is the state of being extremely eminent—famed and respected above all or most.

Eminence is often used in reference to scholars who are viewed as experts in their field, with preeminence being the level of the most distinguished or respected authorities (or authority).

Sometimes, preeminence means dominance, especially when it’s used in the context of a country’s control or influence over a region.

Preeminence is sometimes spelled with a hyphen (pre-eminence), perhaps to make it easier to read.

Example: He has achieved preeminence as the foremost expert on this topic.

Where does preeminence come from?

The first records of the word preeminence come from around 1200. It comes from the Late Latin praeēminentia, from the Latin verb praeēminēre, meaning “to project forward” or “to be prominent.” In preeminence, the prefix pre- means “before in rank.”

People who have achieved preeminence in their field come before all others in their expertise or authority on a topic. This is typically due to having accomplished many things and having earned the respect of their colleagues or the public during a lengthy career. Describing someone as preeminent usually means they are the top expert or one of only a few people at the top of the field.

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What are some other forms related to preeminence?

  • pre-eminence (alternate spelling with hyphen)
  • preeminent (adjective)

What are some synonyms for preeminence?

What are some words that share a root or word element with preeminence

What are some words that often get used in discussing preeminence?

How is preeminence used in real life?

Preeminence is typically used in the context of people who are at the very top of their field or things that dominate in some area.


Try using preeminence!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of preeminence?

A. supremacy
B. primacy
C. weakness
D. predominance

How to use preeminence in a sentence