Definition of prerogative in English:



  • 1A right or privilege exclusive to a particular individual or class:

    ‘in some countries, higher education is predominantly the prerogative of the rich’
    • ‘The honey seems extraordinarily expensive, but then sweetness was a prerogative of the rich until the eighteenth century.’
    • ‘First, liberty is the prerogative of citizens, and a large majority of the population will not possess citizenship.’
    • ‘Collecting, however, is not the prerogative of the rich.’
    • ‘Previously, of course, literacy had been the exclusive prerogative of the clergy.’
    • ‘Leisure, they insisted, should remain the prerogative of the rich.’
    • ‘No longer the prerogative of middle class matrons or ladies who lunch, a fabulous range of facilities is right here in Glasgow.’
    • ‘For in societies greatly marked by class prerogatives, style itself tends to become a competitive implement, as a privileged group may cultivate style to advertise its privileges and perpetuate them.’
    • ‘That is entirely within Dr Smith's prerogative, and no one else's.’
    • ‘It is not the Chair's prerogative to determine the declaration of a vote.’
    • ‘Luxury goods and activities which had been almost exclusively the prerogatives of the court and the very rich became available to anyone who could pay for them.’
    • ‘The investment was heralded far and wide, and this Malaysian-based group was given privileges and prerogatives, including labour exemptions, apparently as part of the incentives for them to set up shop here.’
    • ‘In India, the study of Sanskrit was denied to many segments of the Hindu population, as it was deemed to be a prerogative of only the privileged caste.’
    • ‘As Mill put it, it is the right and prerogative of each person, once they have reached the maturity of their years, to interpret for themselves the meaning and value of their experiences.’
    • ‘The difference was that these middle-class Peruvians did not lose any prerogatives or privileges.’
    • ‘It's easier, probably a lot less risky, and takes full advantage of the prerogatives of office.’
    • ‘The birthright is the prerogative of the eldest son.’
    • ‘With the usual prerogative of the wealthy classes, he tended to choose doctors with a reputation for having studied some topics in greater detail than usual.’
    • ‘The selection of candidates is a jealously guarded prerogative of the constituencies.’
    • ‘But this is, after all, an executive prerogative.’
    • ‘Changing a future child's genetic makeup, and experimenting with the genetic legacy of humanity, fall outside any acceptable notion of individual rights or parental prerogatives.’
    entitlement, right, privilege, advantage, due, birthright
    liberty, authority, authorization, power, licence, permission, dispensation, leave, consent, warrant, charter, franchise, sanction
    exemption, immunity, indemnity
    carte blanche
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[mass noun] The right of the sovereign, which in British law is theoretically subject to no restriction.
      • ‘In the months leading up to the deadline, questions were revived about the power and prerogative of Congress to wage war.’
      • ‘It is the Government's prerogative to make that decision.’
      • ‘The prerogative to nominate federal judges, including justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, is an important presidential power.’
      • ‘His theory of democracy in which an assembly of citizens would exercise sovereign prerogative was clearly inadequate.’
      • ‘While this is perfectly within the government's prerogative, student leaders as well as the ousted members feel the Liberals acted without justification.’
      • ‘Courtiers enforced them with impunity, since patents rested on royal prerogative - the common law courts lacked the power to vet them without royal assent.’
      • ‘The taxation of transport and of sales of merchandise, for example, was the exclusive prerogative of the king and his agents until the middle of the ninth century.’
      • ‘In answering such a question, the executive enjoys no constitutional prerogative.’
      • ‘Browner had claimed an almost imperial prerogative to say her word was law.’
      • ‘Several people have criticized the conservatives who have questioned the wisdom of this nomination, pointing out that we have argued that Presidential prerogatives apply to executive appointments.’
      • ‘But beyond the assertion of sovereign prerogative, there was also a thinly veiled message of contempt.’
      • ‘Inconsistency, after all, is the indispensable prerogative of great powers.’
      • ‘Furthermore, constitutions often specify that the conduct of foreign policy is the government's prerogative.’
      • ‘Power can be responsible, strong government can be democratic, and presidential prerogative can be constitutional.’
      • ‘That would be the Government's prerogative, and the Government's prerogative only.’
      • ‘‘Foreign policy is the prerogative of the federal government,’ says the German constitution, and such has been the standard practice up to now.’
      • ‘But I don't question the authority and prerogative of the president.’
    2. 1.2 A faculty or property distinguishing a person or class:
      ‘it's not a female prerogative to feel insecure’
      • ‘While admiration of the moon is a distinctive women's activity in a garden setting, this was not purely a female prerogative.’
      • ‘In contrast, the elegantly cultivated beard was long the prerogative of royalty and the privileged classes.’


  • Arising from the prerogative of the Crown (usually delegated to the government or the judiciary) and based in common law rather than statutory law:

    ‘the monarch retained the formal prerogative power to appoint the Prime Minister’
    • ‘The common law and the prerogative law does not tend to like absolutes.’
    • ‘The applicant advanced a number of grounds in support of his claim for entitlement to prerogative relief.’
    • ‘Query whether it is under the prerogative powers of the Crown.’
    • ‘In the circumstances, I would refuse the applications for prerogative writs.’
    • ‘Was this a prerogative act, such as only the Crown and its military servants could order and perform?’


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin praerogativa (the verdict of) the political division which was chosen to vote first in the assembly, feminine (used as noun) of praerogativus asked first, from prae before + rogare ask.