the official form of address for officers of the clergy or religious orders below the rank of bishop, abbot, or abbess.
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a title of respect for a variety of ecclesiastical officials, such as deans and the superiors of some religious houses
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