pro·​vost | \ ˈprō-ˌvōst How to pronounce provost (audio) , ˈprä-vəst, ˈprō-vəst, especially before another noun ˌprō-(ˌ)vō\

Definition of provost

1 : the chief dignitary of a collegiate or cathedral chapter
2 : the chief magistrate of a Scottish burgh
3 : the keeper of a prison
4 : a high-ranking university administrative officer

Examples of provost in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The University of Washington's new provost has spent much of his life studying geophysics and pondering whether a massive volcanic eruption might have killed the dinosaurs. Katherine Long, The Seattle Times, "UW’s new provost plumbs one of Earth’s most fascinating mysteries," 22 Oct. 2018 Included in the findings was that Penn’s first provost, William Smith, was among the 75 early trustees (out of 121) who owned slaves. Susan Snyder,, "Penn's 'profoundly painful' past: At least 75 of the school's earliest trustees owned slaves," 29 June 2018 The provost, Holden Thorp, credits activists like Ms. Borders with prompting change. New York Times, "Bulletin Board," 6 June 2018 Thomas Katsouleas, the provost and executive vice president of the University of Virginia, was appointed Tuesday as the next president of UConn. Pat Eaton-r0bb, The Seattle Times, "New UConn president says he’s committed to football, AAC," 5 Feb. 2019 Andrew Workman, provost of Roger Williams, remembered him as a mentor and close friend who was intimately connected with the life of the 5,000-student private university. Max Cohen,, "Dr. Donald J. Farish, 75, former president of Rowan University," 6 July 2018 Karman listed the following jobs as major vacancies Bendapudi plans to address: Provost: The university has lacked a permanent provost, who is essentially its chief academic officer, since Shirley Willihnganz resigned in June 2015. Morgan Watkins, The Courier-Journal, "New U of L president's first challenges: Fill vacant, high-level jobs," 2 July 2018 Brown, a former Suffolk University provost and real estate attorney, reversed many of the downward trends. Laura Krantz,, "Mount Ida projected an image of success right until it folded," 22 Apr. 2018 Last year, one third of students who applied to American University either visited its Washington, D.C., campus or attended an information session about the school, said Andrea Felder, assistant vice provost for undergraduate admissions. Douglas Belkin, WSJ, "The Data Colleges Collect on Applicants," 26 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'provost.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of provost

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

History and Etymology for provost

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about provost

Statistics for provost

Last Updated

26 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for provost

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for provost



English Language Learners Definition of provost

US : an official of high rank at a university
British : the head of a college at a university
: the head of a Scottish town

More from Merriam-Webster on provost

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with provost Encyclopedia article about provost

Comments on provost

What made you want to look up provost? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!