Main definitions of prior in US English:

: prior1prior2

prior1

adjective

  • attributive Existing or coming before in time, order, or importance.

    ‘he has a prior engagement this evening’
    • ‘Although some winners were unable to attend due to prior engagements or ill-health, the vast majority of the past recipients of the prestigious award were at the dinner.’
    • ‘Those prior studies examined cases that were missed in the clinical laboratory.’
    • ‘Research has since confirmed the importance of prior knowledge to reading comprehension across a wide variety of situations.’
    • ‘The AIC is a self-report measure developed for this study that records injuries that occurred in the prior 6 months.’
    • ‘What we are looking for is a prior statement inconsistent with her evidence.’
    • ‘He testified that, in his opinion, this option was available to Mr. Lenz, given the support payments he was already making to Mrs. Lenz under the prior, informal agreement.’
    • ‘The announcement has been made at very short notice without any prior consultation and has been a tremendous shock to those using the services.’
    • ‘Ideally each software installation would be referred to a central service for prior approval.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, citizens with little prior exposure to the rudiments of democratic practices acquired repeated experience with voting.’
    • ‘Almost half the defendants convicted had no prior arrest records.’
    • ‘When the student returns, she must be reinstated to her prior status.’
    • ‘At common law, the father of a legitimate child was seen as having a prior and stronger claim to possession of the child than the mother in disputes concerning the custody of the child.’
    • ‘The seven subjects in this trial experienced the same general type of mild acute side effects described in the prior pilot clinical trial which used one-half of the dose in the current study.’
    • ‘But it appears to us that there is a prior, but closely connected, question to which the judge did not expressly refer.’
    • ‘The courts have also looked to the logical implications and extensions of their prior precedents in deciding whether a right is fundamental.’
    • ‘Mr. Naess was equally vague about details of his prior relationship with the complainant.’
    • ‘It does appear that, due to the patient leaving the ward without prior notice to the staff nurse, this routine was not carried out.’
    • ‘There then follow 18 sub-paragraphs listing various actions or activities which are prohibited without the prior written consent of both shareholders.’
    • ‘His prior columns on tort reform may be found in the archive of his columns on this site.’
    • ‘I will not repeat the summary of the evidence that is contained in my two prior rulings except as required to develop the argument in this ruling.’
    earlier, previous, preceding, foregoing, antecedent, advance, preparatory, preliminary, initial
    View synonyms

noun

North American
informal
  • A previous criminal conviction.

    ‘he had no juvenile record, no priors’
    • ‘You know, I really think that actually there was someone on that list that had a prior, and - for marijuana, and, they had been to prison before, so there were some people that had priors.’
    • ‘I want to look Jason up on LEAP, see whether he's got any priors we might like to know about.’
    • ‘We talked about the prior - the arrest warrants that are outstanding for this individual, Edmunds.’
    • ‘This man has no priors, who has been a contributing worker throughout his life, finds himself in the dock charged with a very serious offence.’
    • ‘It's a diversion program, a deferred sentencing program, for ‘predicate felons,’ people with multiple serious priors and a drug problem who would otherwise be serving long sentences.’
    • ‘She had four felony convictions for burglary and petty theft with priors, and had been out of prison for a couple of years when she coolly shoplifted, then viciously fought me in the parking lot.’

Phrases

  • prior to

    • Before a particular time or event.

      ‘she visited me on the day prior to her death’
      • ‘They complained that they had not been consulted properly by the council prior to the work.’
      • ‘Nor is he the sort of method actor who immerses himself in a role for months prior to shooting.’
      • ‘He said that the back of the silver Rover had been clipped by the blue Mercedes prior to the collision.’
      • ‘It may be necessary to make arrangements for a banker's draft prior to the sale.’
      • ‘The concert was his last as he has resigned prior to becoming head of strings at Bedford School.’
      • ‘Why are cameras not placed at frequent intervals on this road or, at the very least prior to a sharp bend?’
      • ‘The mining industry had not been a major direct source of state revenue prior to the depression.’
      • ‘The schools had the song sheets for a couple of months prior to the event to practice.’
      • ‘In previous years, they ensured that the ragwort was pulled up prior to its seeding.’
      • ‘Mrs Scott had to spend two weeks in hospital, including a week prior to the Caesarian birth.’
      • ‘We caught up with Ellis just prior to the release of the first issue and asked him, why Los Angeles?’
      • ‘Informed consent was obtained from each individual prior to the beginning of the study.’
      • ‘He was in his eighties and had lived an active life as a farmer prior to his retirement.’
      • ‘He worked up to seven days a week and had never been in trouble prior to the incident.’
      • ‘But today he said the pair had not made any plans for their wedding prior to their split.’
      • ‘In the weeks and months prior to his death, he took some steps to organise his financial affairs.’
      • ‘There will also be a temporary away seating area constructed prior to the start of the new season.’
      • ‘When he was spoken to several days later, he denied that he had been drinking prior to the crash.’
      • ‘Hamlet had no significant injury problems prior to their midweek match at Fleet Town.’
      • ‘We saw the stables where the pit ponies were kept prior to going down the pit.’
      before, until, till, up to, previous to, earlier than, preceding, leading up to, in advance of, ahead of, ante-, pre-
      View synonyms

Origin

Early 18th century: from Latin, literally ‘former, elder’, related to prae ‘before’.

Pronunciation

prior

/ˈprī(ə)r//ˈpraɪ(ə)r/

Main definitions of prior in US English:

: prior1prior2

prior2

noun

  • 1A man who is head of a house or group of houses of certain religious orders.

    1. 1.1 The man next in rank below an abbot.
      • ‘Friaries were occupied by friars, abbeys were headed by abbots, priories by priors.’
      • ‘One person who presented his ideas on the longitude was Jacques Graindorge, the prior of a Benedictine abbey in Fontenay near Caen.’
      • ‘The first abbot of Dunfermline was Geoffrey, prior of Canterbury, while David I's Cistercian foundation at Melrose was established by monks from Rievaulx.’
      • ‘Until the Reformation, the spiritual peerage also included abbots and priors, and spiritual peers formed a majority of the House of Lords.’
      • ‘Abbots were the spiritual heads of the larger monasteries (abbesses for nuns), with priors in charge of smaller or daughter houses.’
    2. 1.2 The head of a house of friars.
      • ‘The Chartreuse de Champmol was founded for twenty-four monks and a prior, which was twice the usual number in a typical Carthusian foundation.’
      • ‘Although the documents are not clear, most historians agree that he was appointed prior of the Dominican convent in Würzburg.’
      • ‘Taize is a celibate, monastic community of men living under a common rule with Brother Roger as prior.’
      • ‘Brother John, who became the prior at Mont-Cornillon in 1242, must have been the first male to whom Juliana spoke regarding her vision for the new feast.’
      • ‘He was ordained in May 1953 and has served as prior, novice master and Bursar.’

Origin

Late Old English, from a medieval Latin noun use of Latin prior ‘elder, former’ (see prior).

Pronunciation

prior

/ˈprī(ə)r//ˈpraɪ(ə)r/