One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Treated as plural. Chief men, nobles, magnates.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in Nicholas Amhurst (1697–1742), satirist and political writer. From classical Latin procerēs (plural; rare singular procer) leading men, chiefs, nobles, alteration (after pauperēs, plural of pauper) of Old Latin procī (attested in genitive plural, procum) from the same Indo-European base as ancient Greek πρόκα at once, Old Church Slavonic prokŭ besides, representing an extended form of the Indo-European base of classical Latin prō.
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