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 prerogative (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for prerogative

Synonyms

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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 Although appropriations are the constitutional prerogative of the Legislature, the governor controlled most of the emergency funding during the pandemic with no legislative authority or oversight. al, "Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis bans vaccine passports, ends local COVID restrictions," 3 May 2021 But only one party last week was willing to protect the prerogative of institutions to discriminate systematically by race. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Revealing Vote on Anti-Asian Bias," 25 Apr. 2021 Cheat-Tears-Forgiveness-Repeat: Certainly that’s your prerogative. Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax: She quit social media to feel better, but now she misses feeling bad," 3 Apr. 2021 As Scheffler noted Wednesday, that’s their prerogative, and everybody has a different way to prepare. Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News, "Finger: As Scottie Scheffler continues rise, Texas Open does, too," 31 Mar. 2021 These were reportedly insisted on by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who exercised his prerogative as a must-have Democratic vote. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Jonathan Cohn’s history of Obamacare shows how our political system is broken," 15 Mar. 2021 Perpetual borrowing without currency devaluation is the prerogative only of a solitary global economic hegemon. Brian Domitrovic, Forbes, "The Zeus Of Economics Has Died," 4 Apr. 2021 Zoning has historically been the prerogative of local governments. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Opinion: Your Say on proposal to eliminate single-family home zoning," 2 Apr. 2021 For Brutalist buildings, which prioritize such qualities as form, texture, composition and weight, this has long been their prerogative. Kelsey Ables, Washington Post, "Brutalist buildings aren’t unlovable. You’re looking at them wrong.," 25 Mar. 2021

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

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Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Prerogative.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prerogative. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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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