- 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 prefect
Rich and smooth with a subtly bitter flavor, Guinness is a prefect drinking beer—and baking beer.What to Eat: St. Patrick's Day
March 16, 2010
I stopped a minute before entering the Prefect's suite of rooms.
"You shall be supplied above and beyond all your wishes," said the Prefect.
With these words I rang for my footman to show the Prefect of Police to the door.
The Prefect of the Department, the Bishop, the clergy, objected to her story.The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete
The detachment on duty there accompanied the prefect and the colonel as a guard of honour.The Fortune of the Rougons
- (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 prefect
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.