[ prel-it ]
/ ˈprɛl ɪt /


an ecclesiastic of a high order, as an archbishop, bishop, etc.; a church dignitary.

Origin of prelate

1175–1225; Middle English prelat < Medieval Latin praelātus a civil or ecclesiastical dignitary, noun use of Latin praelātus (past participle of praeferre to prefer), equivalent to prae- pre- + lātus, suppletive past participle of ferre to bear1

Related forms

prel·ate·ship, nounpre·lat·ic [pri-lat-ik] /prɪˈlæt ɪk/, adjectivenon·pre·lat·ic, adjectiveun·pre·lat·ic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for prelate

British Dictionary definitions for prelate


/ (ˈprɛlɪt) /


a Church dignitary of high rank, such as a cardinal, bishop, or abbot

Derived Forms

prelatic (prɪˈlætɪk) or prelatical, adjective

Word Origin for prelate

C13: from Old French prélat, from Church Latin praelātus, from Latin praeferre to hold in special esteem, prefer
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