Definition of prelate in English:



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

    • ‘Catholic prelates have also engaged in speculation.’
    • ‘These two prelates spoke from opposite poles of the church.’
    • ‘Thus in 1217 Honorius III ordered bishops and prelates to help out the boy-king Henry III.’
    • ‘It is the first such invitation to a Catholic prelate.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Finally, a Vatican-appointed committee of three U.S. prelates was commissioned to resolve the crisis.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘The Pope has designated other prelates to stand in for him, and the Vatican says his only commitment is his Easter blessing.’
    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’.