Definition of prelature in English:



  • 1The office, rank, or sphere of authority of a prelate.

    • ‘Opus Dei, as a personal prelature, forms part of the Church's hierarchical structure.’
    • ‘The authorities of the prelature must totally avoid even so much as giving advice on these matters.’
    • ‘The apostolic administrator of the prelature was eventually released unharmed.’
    • ‘Thomas is a member of Opus Dei, the personal prelature of the Pope comprised of lay persons.’
    • ‘Opus Dei was founded by a priest, has a bishop at its head, and numbers many priests and bishops among its members; its full name, before it was erected as a personal prelature, was the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei.’
    1. 1.1the prelature Prelates collectively.


Early 17th century: from French prélature, from medieval Latin praelatura, from praelatus ‘civil dignitary’ (see prelate).