[ pri-rog-uh-tiv, puh-rog- ]
See synonyms for prerogative on
  1. an exclusive right, privilege, etc., exercised by virtue of rank, office, or the like: the prerogatives of a senator.

  2. a right, privilege, etc., limited to a specific person or to persons of a particular category: It was the teacher's prerogative to stop the discussion.

  1. a power, immunity, or the like restricted to a sovereign government or its representative: The royal prerogative exempts the king from taxation.

  2. Obsolete. precedence.

  1. having or exercising a prerogative.

  2. pertaining to, characteristic of, or existing by virtue of a prerogative.

Origin of prerogative

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Latin praerogātīvus (adjective) “voting first,” praerogātīva (noun use of feminine of adjective) “tribe or century with right to vote first.” See pre-, interrogative

synonym study For prerogative

1. See privilege.

word story For prerogative

The English noun prerogative has always been a legal or political term, first in Latin, then in Old French and Anglo-French. In Latin, praerogātīva was the tribe or century (a company of soldiers, also one of the units into which Roman citizens were assigned for voting) to which the first vote fell by lot (this vote was counted before the other centuries or tribes voted and was very influential).
Praerogātīva also meant “the verdict or vote of this tribe or century; a prior verdict, election, right, or claim.” Medieval Latin developed the sense ““a previous choice, sure sign, special right, privilege,” and in Anglo-French and Old French prerogative meant “a privilege accorded to certain dignitaries, a special right or privilege exercised by the monarch.” By the early 15th century, Middle English prerogative meant “a precedence, superiority, or preeminence,” a meaning now obsolete. The common thread that remains in the current senses of the word in English are aspects of meaning related to a right, privilege, or power.

Words Nearby prerogative Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use prerogative in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for prerogative


/ (prɪˈrɒɡətɪv) /

  1. an exclusive privilege or right exercised by a person or group of people holding a particular office or hereditary rank

  2. any privilege or right

  1. a power, privilege, or immunity restricted to a sovereign or sovereign government

  1. having or able to exercise a prerogative

Origin of prerogative

C14: from Latin praerogātīva privilege, earlier: group with the right to vote first, from prae before + rogāre to ask, beg for

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