pri·​or·​i·​ty | \ prī-ˈȯr-ə-tē How to pronounce priority (audio) , -ˈär- \
plural priorities

Definition of priority

1a(1) : the quality or state of being prior
(2) : precedence in date or position of publication used of taxa
b(1) : superiority in rank, position, or privilege
(2) : legal precedence in exercise of rights over the same subject matter
2 : a preferential rating especially : one that allocates rights to goods and services usually in limited supply that project has top priority
3 : something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives

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Synonyms for priority


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Examples of priority in a Sentence

Reorganizing the sales force will be a top priority for the new president. Getting the work done on time is a priority for me. She decided to go to the party instead of studying? Where are her priorities? I know you want to buy a new stereo, but right now, saving for college has to take priority.
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Recent Examples on the Web For a party that aims to guide China toward domination of the future—especially in crucial industries such as electric vehicles, renewable energy, and artificial intelligence—the first priority is controlling the past. Ian Johnson, The New York Review of Books, 15 June 2021 The top priority for UMAW’s Label Relations team is providing resources like glossaries, sample contracts, and a confidential service to review royalty terms. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 15 June 2021 That Leyba has played mostly third base and first base with Jahmai Jones back at Norfolk playing second every day indicates that Jones is the priority. Jon Meoli,, 15 June 2021 Also on Tuesday, council members heard a presentation about which intersection projects would receive the highest priority for improvements in the new budget. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 June 2021 Urban natural areas have never been the top priority, not across the country, not here in New York. Sarah Charlop-powers, Scientific American, 14 June 2021 For Kyiv, bringing an end to the conflict in eastern Ukraine is the priority. Washington Post, 13 June 2021 Polls have increasingly shown that combating crime is the top priority among New York Democrats, a sentiment that was evident in interviews with voters across the city in recent months, from Harlem to Kew Gardens Hills, Queens. New York Times, 12 June 2021 Unsurprisingly, flexibility was the top priority of 90% of respondents, who ranged from individual contributors to senior managers. Mark C. Perna, Forbes, 10 June 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

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Time Traveler for priority

Time Traveler

The first known use of priority was in the 14th century

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Statistics for priority

Last Updated

19 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Priority.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for priority



English Language Learners Definition of priority

: something that is more important than other things and that needs to be done or dealt with first
US : the things that someone cares about and thinks are important
: the condition of being more important than something or someone else and therefore coming or being dealt with first


pri·​or·​i·​ty | \ prī-ˈȯr-ə-tē How to pronounce priority (audio) \
plural priorities

Kids Definition of priority

: a condition of being more important than other things


pri·​or·​i·​ty | \ prī-ˈȯr-ə-tē How to pronounce priority (audio) \
plural priorities

Legal Definition of priority

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: precedence in exercise of rights in the same subject matter secured interests have priority over unsecured ones



Legal Definition of priority (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : having precedence over another in the exercise of rights in the same subject matter a priority creditor a priority claim
2 : of or relating to priority a priority contest


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