pro·​vost ˈprō-ˌvōst How to pronounce provost (audio)
 especially before another noun  ˌprō-(ˌ)vō
: the chief dignitary of a collegiate or cathedral chapter
: the chief magistrate of a Scottish burgh
: the keeper of a prison
: a high-ranking university administrative officer

Examples of provost in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In its last year of operation, the school has more than doubled its normal loss of first-year students between fall semesters, according to an announcement by the college’s provost. Ellie Quinlan Houghtaling, The New Republic, 13 Oct. 2023 Robinson previously served as vice provost for diversity. Ryan Anderson, Arkansas Online, 12 Oct. 2023 Prior to 2020, the number of HBCUs offering online courses was very small, Melvin Foster, associate provost for academic success at Morehouse College, told CNN. Justin Gamble, CNN, 14 Sep. 2023 Before Rutgers, Dutta served at Purdue University as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity. Matthew Dolan, Detroit Free Press, 18 July 2023 By then, Epps had been a member of the university’s faculty for more than three decades and served in roles including the dean of the university’s law school, the executive vice president and provost, and Temple’s chief academic officer, the university said. Sharif Paget, CNN, 19 Sep. 2023 Stanford’s provost, Persis Drell, is also resigning this fall as the chief academic officer and chief budget officer. Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 15 Sep. 2023 The Globe obtained a copy of a letter dated Aug. 24 and signed by Brandeis provost Carol A. Fierke and dean of graduate school of arts and sciences Wendy Cadge. Globe Staff,, 25 Aug. 2023 The other two finalists were Tamara Daniel, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at ASU-Mountain Home, and Kendra Ericson, president of St. Luke's College in Sioux City, Iowa. Ryan Anderson, Arkansas Online, 20 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'provost.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Old English profost & Anglo-French provost, from Medieval Latin propositus, alteration of praepositus, from Latin, one in charge, director, from past participle of praeponere to place at the head — more at preposition

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of provost was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near provost

Cite this Entry

“Provost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


pro·​vost ˈprō-ˌvōst How to pronounce provost (audio)
 before "marshal" often  ˌprō-vō
: a high managing officer (as in a university)

More from Merriam-Webster on provost

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