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

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Other Words from prerogative

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

Synonyms for prerogative

Synonyms

appanage (also apanage), birthright, right

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

His reliance on economic sanctions is seemingly at odds with those pro-business prerogatives, since sanctions create significant regulatory burdens for firms and tend to be bad for U.S. businesses. Bryan R. Early, Washington Post, "E.U. countries want to save the Iran nuclear deal. Don’t expect cooperation on U.S. sanctions.," 25 May 2018 The performance by Republicans, echoing Mr. Trump’s own lines of attack, demonstrated just how far many in the party have moved since the days when they were seen as the party of law enforcement, deferential to its power and prerogatives. Nicholas Fandos, New York Times, "F.B.I. Agent Defends Actions in Russia Inquiry in Contentious House Testimony," 12 July 2018 Despite sometimes intense pressure, the courts have performed honorably, upholding their constitutional prerogatives and the rule of law. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Mueller Braced a Nation Under Pressure," 26 Mar. 2019 The suit also asked for the city’s long-standing custom of aldermanic prerogative to be declared unlawful. Maya Dukmasova, Chicago Reader, "News / Housing Lost battle on affordable housing means war on aldermanic prerogative will continue," 26 June 2018 Rather than defend its own constitutional prerogatives, the Senate in past years has acquiesced in the politically expedient myth that its duty to approve or deny treaties can be discarded at the pleasure of the executive of the moment. WSJ, "The Senate Cedes Its Authority on Climate," 26 Dec. 2018 The City Council’s Zoning Committee eventually voted to agree with Napolitano and follow aldermanic prerogative, the Chicago tradition that a ward’s issues are best handled by the local alderman. Gregory Pratt, chicagotribune.com, "Aldermen reject Northwest Side affordable housing proposal after heated debate," 27 June 2018 Such changes in the military hierarchy, only some of which have been announced publicly, are the prerogative of the president, who is also minister of defense. Aomar Ouali And Elaine Ganley, Fox News, "Algerian generals, others fired without explanation," 12 Sep. 2018 Clearly, 2018 Britney is living by the same mantra, and spritzing a model's abs while dancing in leather underwear is her prerogative. Zoe Weiner, Allure, "Britney Spears Announced Her New Fragrance, My Prerogative, in the Most Britney Spears Way Ever," 16 July 2018

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.

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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.

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Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for prerogative

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

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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

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