prior

noun
pri·​or | \ ˈprī(-ə)r How to pronounce prior (audio) \

Definition of prior

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the superior ranking next to the abbot of a monastery
2 : the superior of a house or group of houses of any of various religious communities

prior

adjective

Definition of prior (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : earlier in time or order
2 : taking precedence (as in importance)

Prior

biographical name
\ ˈprī(-ə)r How to pronounce Prior (audio) \

Definition of Prior (Entry 3 of 3)

Matthew 1664–1721 English poet

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Other Words from prior

Noun

priorate \ ˈprī-​ə-​rət How to pronounce priorate (audio) \ noun
priorship \ ˈprī(-​ə)r-​ˌship How to pronounce priorship (audio) \ noun

Adjective

priorly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for prior

Adjective

preceding, antecedent, foregoing, previous, prior, former, anterior mean being before. preceding usually implies being immediately before in time or in place. the preceding sentence antecedent applies to order in time and may suggest a causal relation. conditions antecedent to the revolution foregoing applies chiefly to statements. the foregoing remarks previous and prior imply existing or occurring earlier, but prior often adds an implication of greater importance. a child from a previous marriage a prior obligation former implies always a definite comparison or contrast with something that is latter. the former name of the company anterior applies to position before or ahead of usually in space, sometimes in time or order. the anterior lobe of the brain

Examples of prior in a Sentence

Adjective

Do you have a prior history of back problems? The job requires prior experience in advertising. The defendant had a prior record of convictions. I'm sorry, but we have a prior commitment and can't come tonight. We have a prior claim to the estate.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In other words, being hallucination-prone went along with perceptual priors having a stronger effect on perception. Anil K. Seth, Scientific American, "The Neuroscience of Reality," 27 Aug. 2019 Stevens also didn’t have a driver’s license and was found to have two DUI priors in Missouri. Fox News, "Drunk driver says he only drank when his car wasn't moving," 10 July 2018 There's a lot of research on 'motivated reasoning' including my work that finds people apply less scrutiny to information that affirms their priors and more scrutiny to information that contradicts them. Brian Stelter, CNN, "Trump's lies are getting bolder and the press is stuck in the middle," 25 July 2019 What emerges most powerfully here is the refusal of this proud steed of technocratic managerialism to engage with new circumstances, even as many in his own liberal camp reevaluate their priors. Aaron Timms, The New Republic, "The Sameness of Cass Sunstein," 20 June 2019 There is nothing about Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy or ideological priors that Flake finds objectionable. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Brett Kavanaugh is Jeff Flake’s most important test," 3 Oct. 2018 Stevens also didn’t have a driver’s license and was found to have two DUI priors in Missouri. Fox News, "Drunk driver says he only drank when his car wasn't moving," 10 July 2018 Plenty of people learn more only to better serve their priors. David Roberts, Vox, "My advice for aspiring explainer journalists," 9 Dec. 2018 Stevens also didn’t have a driver’s license and was found to have two DUI priors in Missouri. Fox News, "Drunk driver says he only drank when his car wasn't moving," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Google declined, pointing to prior statements by Kent Walker, its senior vice president of global affairs. Washington Post, "House lawmakers ask Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google to turn over trove of records in antitrust probe," 13 Sep. 2019 Demi was actually filming her recurring role in the upcoming Will & Grace revival, which is a pretty solid prior commitment in my opinion. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Demi Lovato Shut Down Rumors of a Feud With Taylor Swift by Praising Her New Album," 3 Sep. 2019 Spring 2019: After a few quiet months in Crean’s recruiting, four-star point guard Sahvir Wheeler signed with the Bulldogs in May after securing a release from his prior commitment to Texas A&M and got the ball rolling on some late momentum. Emily Caron, SI.com, "Headlined by Star Anthony Edwards, Georgia's 2019 Class Has Bulldogs Looking Up," 15 Aug. 2019 This is a conclusion that did not appear in the special counsel's report or in his prior public statement. Emily Tillett, CBS News, "Did Mueller change his statement that Trump could be indicted after he leaves office?," 25 July 2019 Each of the cases that Rollins sought to dismiss involved nonviolent charges and defendants with no prior criminal records. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, "Straight Pride Parade fallout: Boston DA wins fight over counter protester arrests," 9 Sep. 2019 Family will receive friends prior beginning at 1pm. orlandosentinel.com, "Deaths in Central Florida: 9/7," 7 Sep. 2019 That means the piers are in violation of a prior California Coastal Commission determination. San Diego Union-Tribune, "La Playa Piers: Port commissioners to decide if they should stay or go," 14 Sep. 2019 Officials are making those decisions on a case-by-case basis and among the reasons for inadmissibility, Sabatino said, are prior immigration violations and criminal histories. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "3,900 evacuees from the Bahamas have come to south Florida," 13 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prior.' 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 prior

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prior

Noun

Middle English, from Old English & Anglo-French; both from Medieval Latin, from Late Latin, administrator, from Latin, former, superior

Adjective

Latin, former, superior; akin to Latin priscus ancient, prae before — more at for

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Learn More about prior

Dictionary Entries near prior

prion protein

Prionurus

prionus

prior

Prior

priorable

prioral

Statistics for prior

Last Updated

15 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prior

The first known use of prior was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for prior

prior

noun

English Language Learners Definition of prior

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a monk who is the head of a religious house or order
: a priest whose rank is just below that of an abbot
US, informal : a previous time of being arrested for or found guilty of a crime

prior

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of prior (Entry 2 of 2)

: existing earlier in time
formal : more important than something else because it came first

prior

noun
pri·​or | \ ˈprī-ər How to pronounce prior (audio) \

Kids Definition of prior

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a monk who is head of a religious house

prior

adjective

Kids Definition of prior (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : being or happening before something else a prior date prior experience
2 : being more important than something else a prior claim
prior to
: before entry 2 sense 2 The project must be finished prior to July.

prior

adjective
pri·​or | \ ˈprī-ər\

Legal Definition of prior

1 : earlier in time or order
2 : taking precedence (as in importance) a prior lien

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More from Merriam-Webster on prior

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prior

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prior

Spanish Central: Translation of prior

Nglish: Translation of prior for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prior for Arabic Speakers

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