prae·​to·​ri·​an prē-ˈtȯr-ē-ən How to pronounce praetorian (audio)
variants or less commonly pretorian
often capitalized : of, forming, or resembling the Roman imperial bodyguard
: of or relating to a praetor
praetorian noun often capitalized

Examples of praetorian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Conservatives who are more moderate and mainstream will shop and shift between one candidate or another while the 30-odd percent of the Republican primary electorate who are populists will surround their man like a praetorian guard and see him all the way through Super Tuesday and beyond. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, 28 Feb. 2021 In addition, a strong message needs to be sent to both Cuba and Russia, which have created a praetorian guard to surround and protect Maduro. Marshall Billingslea, National Review, 9 May 2021 The brigade received counter-insurgency training by North Korean advisers and was known as the elite praetorian guard of Mugabe, directly answerable to his office. Bram Janssen and Andrew Meldrum, Fox News, 28 July 2018 Ever since Margaret Thatcher ripped up the rule book for London’s financial markets in 1986, Tories have defined themselves as capitalism’s praetorian guard. Caroline Alexander,, 30 June 2018 Mueller, a man appointed to direct the FBI by a Republican, has a sterling reputation — even according to the president’s praetorian guard, before partisanship forced them to change their story. Jonah Goldberg, National Review, 31 Jan. 2018 Mr Trump also threatened to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the country’s praetorian guard, as a terrorist organisation. The Economist, 16 Oct. 2017 But temptations of power proved too much as the mullahs and their praetorian guard indulged their taste for luxury. Reuel Marc Gerecht and, WSJ, 11 Oct. 2017 Thus the latest Korean Caligula gets global attention, his praetorian guard are assured of their continued privilege, and China offers its Cheshire smile to signal that Armageddon is avoided. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, 25 July 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'praetorian.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of praetorian was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near praetorian

Cite this Entry

“Praetorian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
: of or relating to a Roman praetor
often capitalized : of, relating to, or being the bodyguard of a Roman emperor
the praetorian guard


2 of 2 noun
often capitalized
: a member of the praetorian guard
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