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prior    : [pr'ɑɪɚ]
Prior \Pri"or\, n. [OE. priour, OF. priour, prior, priur, F.
prieur, from L. prior former, superior. See {Prior}, a.]
1. (Eccl.) The superior of a priory, and next below an abbot
in dignity.
[1913 Webster]

2. a chief magistrate, as in the republic of Florence in the
middle ages. --[RHUD]

{Conventical prior}, or {Conventual prior}, a prior who is at
the head of his own house. See the Note under {Priory}.

{Claustral prior}, an official next in rank to the abbot in a
monastery; prior of the cloisters.
[1913 Webster]

Prior \Pri"or\, n.
a prior conviction; -- said of an accused criminal.

Prior \Pri"or\, a. [L. prior former, previous, better, superior;
compar. corresponding to primus first, and pro for. See
{Former}, and cf. {Prime}, a., and {Pre-}, {Pro-}.]
1. Preceding in the order of time; former; antecedent;
anterior; previous; as, a prior discovery; prior
obligation; -- used elliptically in cases like the
following: he lived alone [in the time] prior to his
[1913 Webster]

2. First, precedent, or superior in the order of cognition,
reason or generality, origin, development, rank, etc.
[Webster 1913 Suppl.]

adj 1: earlier in time [synonym: {anterior}, {prior(a)}]
n 1: the head of a religious order; in an abbey the prior is
next below the abbot

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English Dictionary  2005-2009

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