- Any of several high military or civil officials in ancient Rome.
- The chief of police of Paris, France.
- A chief administrative official of a department of France.
- The administrator in charge of discipline at a Jesuit school.
- The head of a department of France.
- The chief of the Paris police.
The prefect of the aqueducts; the prefect of a camp, of a fleet, of the city guard, or of provisions; the pretorian prefect, who was commander of the troops guarding the emperor's person.
Origin of prefect
- Middle English from Old French from Latin praefectus from past participle of praeficere to place at the head of prae- pre- facere to make dhē- in Indo-European roots
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Latin praefectus (“overseer, director, prefect"). Literally 'one having been put in charge'.