or pre-em·i·nent

[ pree-em-uh-nuhnt ]
/ priˈɛm ə nənt /
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eminent above or before others; superior; surpassing: He is preeminent in his profession.
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Origin of preeminent

1400–50; late Middle English <Latin praeēminent- (stem of praeēminēns), present participle of praeēminēre to project forward, be prominent. See pre-, eminent

synonym study for preeminent

See dominant.


pre·em·i·nent·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does preeminent mean?

Preeminent means extremely distinguished, outstanding, or superior to all (or the majority of) others.

The word eminent means high in station, rank, or reputation. Someone who is considered eminent is usually both well-known and well-respected, especially within a particular field. Preeminent means extremely eminent—famed and respected above all or most.

Eminent is often applied to scholars who are viewed as experts in their field, with preeminent being used to describe the most distinguished or respected ones—or perhaps one.

The state of being preeminent is preeminence.

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

Example: He is the preeminent professor of this topic and his expertise is world-renowned.

Where does preeminent come from?

The first records of the word preeminent come from the 1400s. It comes from the Latin verb praeēminēre, meaning “to project forward” or “to be prominent.” The base word, eminent, comes from the Latin verb ēminēre, meaning “to stand out.” In preeminent, the prefix pre- means “before in rank.”

People who are preeminent 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 preeminent?

  • pre-eminent (alternate spelling with hyphen)
  • preeminently (adverb)
  • preeminence (noun)

What are some synonyms for preeminent?

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

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

How is preeminent used in real life?

Preeminent is typically applied to experts who are at the very top of their field or area of study.


Try using preeminent!

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

A. foremost
B. outstanding
C. novice
D. premier

How to use preeminent in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for preeminent

/ (prɪˈɛmɪnənt) /

extremely eminent or distinguished; outstanding

Derived forms of pre-eminent

pre-eminence, nounpre-eminently, adverb
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