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

Nearby words

  1. prejudice,
  2. prejudiced,
  3. prejudicial,
  4. prelacy,
  5. prelapsarian,
  6. prelate nullius,
  7. prelatic,
  8. prelatism,
  9. prelature,
  10. prelaunch

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 formsprel·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



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

Word Origin and History for prelate



c.1200, from Old French prelat (Modern French prélate) and directly from Medieval Latin prelatus "clergyman of high rank," from Latin praelatus "one preferred," noun use of past participle of praeferre (see prefer), from prae "before" (see pre-) + latus "borne, carried" (see oblate (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper