Definition of prelate in English:



formal, historical
  • A bishop or other high ecclesiastical dignitary.

    • ‘These two prelates spoke from opposite poles of the church.’
    • ‘Only the king could appoint people to it and normally only princes of the blood (the most senior nobles), senior prelates and magnates were allowed to join.’
    • ‘It is the first such invitation to a Catholic prelate.’
    • ‘The conduct of a prelate should so far surpass the conduct of the people as the life of a pastor sets him apart from the flock.’
    • ‘The Pope has designated other prelates to stand in for him, and the Vatican says his only commitment is his Easter blessing.’
    • ‘The pictures from Saint Peter's Square on an unusually warm and bright day were sharp and colorful, the rows of scarlet-robed prelates encircling the pope's chair a strong visual sign of Catholic solidarity and order.’
    • ‘Thus in 1217 Honorius III ordered bishops and prelates to help out the boy-king Henry III.’
    • ‘Catholic prelates have also engaged in speculation.’
    • ‘Finally, a Vatican-appointed committee of three U.S. prelates was commissioned to resolve the crisis.’
    • ‘But in the 1893 campaign in Chicago, Moody was the first evangelical preacher that I know of who invited Roman Catholic prelates, priests, and bishops to share his platform.’
    industrialist, tycoon, mogul, captain of industry, baron, lord, king, proprietor, entrepreneur, merchant prince, financier, top executive
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Middle English: from Old French prelat, from medieval Latin praelatus civil dignitary, past participle (used as a noun) of Latin praeferre carry before, also place before in esteem.