- Prior means having happened in the past.
An example of prior is a criminal conviction that happened ten years ago.
- The definition of a prior is the head of a home where monks live.
An example of a prior is the person in charge of a religious house such as a priory.
- preceding in time; earlier; previous; former
- preceding in order or importance; preferred: a prior choice
Origin of priorL, former, superior, comparative of Old Latin pri, before: see prime
- the head of a priory or other religious house
- in an abbey, the person in charge next below the abbot
Origin of priorME < OE & OFr, both < ML(Ec), a prior < L: see priorthe
- Preceding in time or order: “[They] insist that foreign vessels seeking access obtain prior approval” (Seymour M. Hersh).
- Preceding in importance or value: a prior consideration.
Origin of priorLatin; see prior2.
- A monastic officer in charge of a priory or ranking next below the abbot of an abbey.
- One of the ruling magistrates of the medieval Italian republic of Florence.
Origin of priorMiddle English priour, from Old English and Old French prior, both from Medieval Latin, from Latin, superior; see per1 in Indo-European roots.
- pri′or·ate , pri′or·ship′
(comparative more prior, superlative most pri)
- (colloquial) Previously.
- The doctor had known three months prior.
From Latin prior