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

That investigation, which the Post detailed in a series of reports last month, showed that Bransfield gave cash gifts of $350,000 to fellow clergymen, including powerful prelates and young priests he is accused of mistreating. Chico Harlan,, "Vatican appoints new bishop to scandal-hit West Virginia diocese," 23 July 2019 The trial in a criminal court in Lyon, which starts on Monday, comes as the Catholic Church is under fire over its handling of prelates embroiled in abuse scandals. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "French Cardinal’s Trial to Draw Scrutiny of How Church Treats Abuse Cases," 4 Jan. 2019 Joseph diocese in Missouri was the first and only American prelate convicted for his role in aiding a priest, when he was found guilty of failing to report child pornography on a cleric's laptop to authorities. NBC News, "Bishops meeting on sex abuse clouded by state investigations," 11 June 2019 Joseph Bishop Robert Finn, convicted in 2012 for failing to report child pornography on a cleric’s laptop, is the only American prelate convicted for his role in aiding a priest. Martha Mendoza, The Denver Post, "As bishops gather, prosecutors step up scrutiny of Catholic Church," 11 June 2019 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

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

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

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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