prerogative

noun
pre·​rog·​a·​tive | \ pri-ˈrä-gə-tiv How to pronounce prerogative (audio) \

Definition of prerogative

1a : an exclusive or special right, power, or privilege: such as
(1) : one belonging to an office or an official body
(2) : one belonging to a person, group, or class of individuals
(3) : one possessed by a nation as an attribute of sovereignty
b : the discretionary power inhering in the British Crown
2 : a distinctive excellence

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from prerogative

prerogatived \ pri-​ˈrä-​gə-​tivd How to pronounce prerogatived (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for prerogative

Synonyms

appanage (also apanage), birthright, right

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?

In ancient Rome, voting at legal assemblies was done by group, with the majority in a group determining its vote. The group chosen to vote first on an issue was called the "praerogativa" (that term traces to a verb meaning "to ask for an opinion before another"). Because the first vote was considered to be of great importance, Latin speakers also used the noun "praerogativa" to mean "preference" and later "privilege." As "praerogativa" passed through Anglo-French and Middle English, its spelling shifted to create the noun we know today.

Examples of prerogative in a Sentence

That sense that the future may not last for long is often assumed to be a prerogative of youth, the dialectical complement of another misconception the young are noted for—the conviction that they are immortal. — Thomas M. Disch, Atlantic, February 1992 More important than any of this, he offered himself as an incarnation of constitutional propriety so that, temperamentally stubborn, he was careful never to exceed the limits of a prerogative overexploited by the later Stuarts. — Simon Schama, The Embarrassment of Riches, 1988 The secularization of the Presidency is indispensable for the reassertion of congressional and popular prerogative. — Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Cycles of American History, 1986 If you'd rather sell the tickets than use them, that's your prerogative. It's a writer's prerogative to decide the fate of her characters.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Certainly, the pope has no prerogative more consequential than choosing the world’s bishops. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Even the Pope’s ‘Supreme’ Power Has Its Limits," 29 Apr. 2018 Such was the prerogative of a place home to so many of the nation’s leading financiers. Sarah Schweitzer, The Atlantic, "The Lunch Ladies of New Canaan," 15 Aug. 2019 Those meeting in Juneau contend that while Alaska’s constitution allows the governor to select the timing and agenda of a special session, the location is the prerogative of the legislature. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "As they consider veto overrides, Alaska lawmakers can’t agree where to meet," 2 July 2019 But to avoid the devastating cuts, Congress would have to enact some sort of spending legislation by January, which would require the acquiescence of Democrats and of appropriators who jealously guard their prerogatives to allocate spending. Emily Cochrane, New York Times, "House Moves Forward With Spending Bills as Congress Grapples With Looming Fiscal Deadlines," 19 June 2019 Lawrence craved the American’s freedom without surrendering his own alpha-male prerogative, recoiling from a charity of spirit that was a common sense of citizenship to Whitman. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "How to Celebrate Walt Whitman’s Two-Hundredth Birthday," 17 June 2019 If the extensive use of samples is considered the prerogative of the rich artist, then so is taking legal action over unauthorised samples. M.h., The Economist, "The vexed question of samples and songwriting credits," 31 July 2019 Self-improvement should be your prerogative and romance a priority. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, "Horoscopes: July 2, 2019," 2 July 2019 In another 5-4 decision, the majority ruled that rigging elections by drawing the lines to maximum partisan advantage was lawmakers’ prerogative. al.com, "With gerrymandering ruling, the Supreme Court could have saved democracy. It didn’t," 10 July 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of prerogative

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for prerogative

Middle English prerogatif, prerogative, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin praerogātīva "the Roman century on which the lot fell to vote first, the verdict of that century (seen as predicting the outcome of the whole vote), omen, prior choice, prior right or claim," (short for centuria praerogātīva "century voting first"), from feminine of praerogātīvus "appointed by lot to vote first," from prae- pre- + rogātus, past participle of rogāre "to ask, ask (an assembly for a decision)" + -īvus -ive — more at rogation

Note: Latin praerogātīvus was probably formed in the manner indicated, rather than as a derivative of praerogāre "to ask or propose beforehand, pay in advance," not attested before the 4th century A.D.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about prerogative

Listen to Our Podcast about prerogative

Statistics for prerogative

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prerogative

The first known use of prerogative was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for prerogative

prerogative

noun

English Language Learners Definition of prerogative

formal : a right or privilege especially : a special right or privilege that some people have

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on prerogative

What made you want to look up prerogative? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

concealment of treason or felony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!