pre·​fect | \ ˈprē-ˌfekt How to pronounce prefect (audio) \

Definition of prefect

1 : any of various high officials or magistrates of differing functions and ranks in ancient Rome
2 : a chief officer or chief magistrate
3 : a student monitor in a usually private school

Examples of prefect in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At least three government prefects — in Bergamo, Brescia and Matera — have tested positive for the virus, along with three Milan prosecutors, according to media reports., "There Are More Than 105,000 Coronavirus Cases Around the World," 10 May 2020 In 2014, Francis appointed him prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Carlin Becker, Washington Examiner, "'Cannot remain silent': Vatican scrambles to defuse controversy over Pope Emeritus Benedict opposition to married priests," 14 Jan. 2020 The new leadership academy will follow a prefect-style model that provides for student self-governance leadership opportunities, a news release stated. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Interested in a non-military college-prep leadership academy? St. John's Northwestern will soon offer that option.," 19 Dec. 2019 In their first iteration, public urinals were phallic-looking columns commissioned by a Parisian city prefect fed up with the flocks of Frenchmen who regularly peed on sidewalks, streets and even the sides of buildings. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "How Paris’ Open-Air Urinals Changed a City—and Helped Dismantle the Nazi Regime," 7 Dec. 2019 On Thursday, Italian state radio said Milan’s prefect, who reports to the interior minister, has assigned a Carabinieri paramilitary police security detail to Segre because of the threats against her. Washington Post, "Auschwitz survivor a focus of Italy’s anti-Semitic tensions," 7 Nov. 2019 Archaeologists have unearthed a road that was likely built in 31 AD by Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect who oversaw the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "'Lost' Road Built by Christ's Executioner Unearthed," 21 Oct. 2019 The position of interior minister, which Mr. Salvini used as a campaigning platform, has been handed to Luciana Lamorgese, a nonpolitical appointee who is a former prefect of Milan. New York Times, "With New Cabinet, Italy’s Head-Spinning Political Turmoil Ends, for Now," 4 Sep. 2019 In February, after his conviction became public, the Church confirmed that his position as the prefect of its secretariat for the economy had not been renewed. Hilary Whiteman, CNN, "Cardinal George Pell loses appeal against conviction for child sex abuse," 20 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prefect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of prefect

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prefect

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin praefectus, from past participle of praeficere to place at the head of, from prae- + facere to make — more at do

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Time Traveler for prefect

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The first known use of prefect was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

14 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prefect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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How to pronounce prefect (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of prefect

: a chief officer or government official who is responsible for a particular area in some countries (such as Japan and France)
chiefly British : an older student who is given the job of helping to watch and control younger students in a school

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Spanish Central: Translation of prefect

Nglish: Translation of prefect for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about prefect

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