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

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 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," 11 July 2018 The chief justice also does have legitimate philosophical priors about respecting precedent and issuing the narrowest possible opinions. Dylan Scott, Vox, "John Roberts is the Supreme Court’s new swing vote. Is he going to overturn Roe v. Wade?," 9 July 2018 The sentence imposed on the gun-use allegation also was tripled, and five years were added because of Royal’s serious felony priors. Pauline Repard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Man sent to prison for 105 years for 2007 Spring Valley murder," 13 July 2018 The suspect was charged with burglary of a motor vehicle with 2 priors, evading on foot, and felon in possession of a weapon. Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire Police report," 21 May 2018 The sheriff says Greenwood had taken drugs the night before and had no priors. Madeleine Marr, miamiherald, "He ducked into an airport bathroom and emerged naked. That's when the chaos started. | Miami Herald," 11 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Due to a prior owner's renovation of the apartment's original 1928 design , there wasn't a need for any construction. Amanda Sims, House Beautiful, "You'll Want to Borrow This Napping Nook for Your Own Home," 20 Feb. 2019 At each fork, the results of the prior decision guide the way. Jessica Wapner, SELF, "How Worried Do You Really Need to Be About Your Screen Time?," 7 Feb. 2019 Democratic pollster Celinda Lake showed me polling that had married men voting 51 percent Republican and 48 percent Democrat, but their wives voted 54 percent Democrat and just 44 Republican, a notable marital break from prior elections. Dylan Scott, Vox, "The suburbs abandoned Republicans in 2018, and they might not be coming back.," 26 Dec. 2018 Perception of unfairness This research builds on prior work by Daniel Kahneman, Jack Knetsch and Richard Thaler showing that perceptions of fairness can partially explain some longstanding economic anomalies. Shlomo Benartzi And Suzanne Shu, WSJ, "Why Retirees Are Wary of Annuities," 10 Feb. 2019 That’s not really the case here, and while the individual components are interesting in and of themselves, the book just doesn’t stack up alongside his prior works. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Red Moon is a novel full of fascinating ideas that never come together," 3 Nov. 2018 According to police reports, Camacho was soliciting extermination services door-to-door in the 100 block of Marimac Lane and while showing photos of prior work stored on his cell phone a lewd photo appeared in the gallery. Pioneer Press, chicagotribune.com, "Vernon Hills police: Man showed lewd photo while marketing his business," 9 July 2018 But playing paleoveterinarian Zia Rodriguez in Universal's $170 million dinosaur sequel, bowing June 22 in the U.S., is a big leap for Pineda, whose prior feature work was a trio of small indies. Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter, "How Daniella Pineda Went From NPR Aspirations to 'Jurassic World' Sequel Breakout," 19 June 2018 The large sculptures depart from Carter’s prior work by draining rainbow color, usually high-keyed, from the mix. Christopher Knight, latimes.com, "Jamison Carter's sculptures: Like a carpenter's guide to the cosmos, or earthbound explosions of space," 14 June 2018

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

5 Feb 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

Comments on prior

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the range of authority or knowledge

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