prel·​ate | \ ˈpre-lət also ˈprē-ˌlāt How to pronounce prelate (audio) \

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

Pell was the highest-ranking Catholic prelate to ever face charges for abusing children. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Australia’s Media Raids and the Decline of Press Freedom Worldwide," 6 June 2019 The former envoy claimed in his letter that numerous other prelates and Vatican officials were also aware of the violations. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Pope Francis Alleged to Have Known in 2013 About Sex-Abuse Charges," 26 Aug. 2018 If convicted, Cardinal Pell would be the highest-ranking Catholic prelate to be found guilty of abuse. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Pope Expresses Shame Over Pennsylvania Report on Sex Abuse," 20 Aug. 2018 The pope has faced criticism for supporting prelates accused of committing abuse or covering it up. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "French Cardinal’s Trial to Draw Scrutiny of How Church Treats Abuse Cases," 4 Jan. 2019 That could suggest Francis now has an elegant way of getting rid of prelates such as Chilean Cardinal Javier Errazuriz, accused by victims of being a key figure in Chile’s wretched record on abuse and cover-up. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Vatican promises ‘clarifications’ to pope cover-up claims," 10 Sep. 2018 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

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

13 Jun 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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