Main definitions of prior in English

: prior1prior2

prior1

adjective

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

    ‘he has a prior engagement this evening’
    • ‘But it appears to us that there is a prior, but closely connected, question to which the judge did not expressly refer.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What we are looking for is a prior statement inconsistent with her evidence.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Those prior studies examined cases that were missed in the clinical laboratory.’
    • ‘The AIC is a self-report measure developed for this study that records injuries that occurred in the prior 6 months.’
    • ‘His prior columns on tort reform may be found in the archive of his columns on this site.’
    • ‘It does appear that, due to the patient leaving the ward without prior notice to the staff nurse, this routine was not carried out.’
    • ‘Almost half the defendants convicted had no prior arrest records.’
    • ‘Ideally each software installation would be referred to a central service for prior approval.’
    • ‘Mr. Naess was equally vague about details of his prior relationship with the complainant.’
    • ‘Research has since confirmed the importance of prior knowledge to reading comprehension across a wide variety of situations.’
    • ‘There then follow 18 sub-paragraphs listing various actions or activities which are prohibited without the prior written consent of both shareholders.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The announcement has been made at very short notice without any prior consultation and has been a tremendous shock to those using the services.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, citizens with little prior exposure to the rudiments of democratic practices acquired repeated experience with voting.’
    • ‘When the student returns, she must be reinstated to her prior status.’
    • ‘The courts have also looked to the logical implications and extensions of their prior precedents in deciding whether a right is fundamental.’
    earlier, previous, preceding, foregoing, antecedent, advance, preparatory, preliminary, initial
    anterior, precedent
    View synonyms

noun

North american
informal
  • A previous criminal conviction.

    ‘he had no juvenile record, no priors’
    • ‘We talked about the prior - the arrest warrants that are outstanding for this individual, Edmunds.’
    • ‘I want to look Jason up on LEAP, see whether he's got any priors we might like to know about.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’

Phrases

  • prior to

    • Before a particular time or event.

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

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

prior

/ˈprī(ə)r/

Main definitions of prior in English

: prior1prior2

prior2

noun

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

    1. 1.1The man next in rank below an abbot.
      • ‘Abbots were the spiritual heads of the larger monasteries (abbesses for nuns), with priors in charge of smaller or daughter houses.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One person who presented his ideas on the longitude was Jacques Graindorge, the prior of a Benedictine abbey in Fontenay near Caen.’
      • ‘Friaries were occupied by friars, abbeys were headed by abbots, priories by priors.’
    2. 1.2The head of a house of friars.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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/