prel·​ate | \ ˈpre-lət also ˈprē-ˌlāt \

Definition of prelate

: an ecclesiastic (such as a bishop or abbot) of superior rank

Examples of prelate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Yet the modest prelate’s vision for the Catholic Church made huge waves. Janet I. Tu, The Seattle Times, "Seattle Archbishop Emeritus Raymond Hunthausen dies at 96," 23 July 2018 In the Catholic Church, prelates don’t have the authority to investigate each other. Matthew Hennessey, WSJ, "The Bishop of Catholic Social Media," 29 Nov. 2018 But a bigger obstacle was opposition from prelates in Latin America and the Vatican who suspected Archbishop Romero of Marxist sympathies. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Pope Grants Sainthood to El Salvador’s Martyred Archbishop Romero," 14 Oct. 2018 Other cardinal red hats will go to the head of the Vatican office on doctrinal orthodoxy and another top Holy See official, and prelates in Osaka, Japan, and L'Aquila, Italy, which is still trying to rebuild after a 2009 earthquake. Fox News, "Pope Francis to create 14 new cardinals in June," 20 May 2018 After lunch, the production crew led a procession of pretend prelates, Swiss Guards, nuns and Vatican gendarmes under the arches of the Passetto di Borgo and across Via dei Corridori. New York Times, "‘Extra’ Cardinals Invade the Vatican (Blessings Not Included)," 9 May 2018 The moment was vintage Sullivan, a progressive prelate who has championed a variety of social and religious causes and embraced sometimes controversial views on important issues in the nation’s public discourse. Jan Hefler,, "On immigration rights, gun control, and racial equality, Camden's bishop is a progressive voice for change," 27 Apr. 2018 Bishop Lei is one of several Catholic prelates who have been appointed by China’s state religious authorities without the blessing of the pope. The Economist, "The pope and China may be close to a deal on appointing bishops," 26 Apr. 2018 For years, Vatican prelates dismissed the accusations of Father Degollado’s victims as slander, but Bishop Scicluna listened to them and, after John Paul’s death, convinced the Vatican that Father Degollado had abused seminarians in his own order. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "Pope Francis, After Criticism, Sends Sex Crimes Investigator to Chile," 30 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prelate.' 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 prelate

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for prelate

Middle English prelat, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin praelatus, literally, one receiving preferment, from Latin (past participle of praeferre to prefer), from prae- + latus, past participle of ferre to carry — more at tolerate, bear

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Last Updated

7 Feb 2019

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The first known use of prelate was in the 13th century

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English Language Learners Definition of prelate

formal : a high-ranking Christian priest : a bishop, cardinal, etc.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prelate

Spanish Central: Translation of prelate

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Britannica English: Translation of prelate for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about prelate

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