American Dictionary of the English Language, Vol. 2

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Author: Noah Webster

Prior

PRI’OR, a. [L. comp. Probably the first syllable is contracted from pris, prid, or some other word, for the Latin has prisce, pristinus.]

Preceding in the order of time; former; antecedent; anterior; as a prior discovery; prior obligation. The discovery of the continent of American by Cabot was six or seven weeks prior to the discovery of it by Columbus. The discovery of the Labrador coast by Cabot was on the 11th of June, 1499; that of the continent by Columbus, was on the first of August of the same year.

PRI’OR, n. [L. prior.]

1. The superior of a convent of monks, or one next in dignity to an abbot. Priors are claustral or conventical. The conventical are the same as abbots. A claustral prior is one that governs the religious of an abbey or priory in commendam, having his jurisdiction wholly from the abbot.

2. In some churches, one who presides over others in the same churches.

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