c. 1200, "ecclesiastic of high rank, bishop, pope, superior of a religious house," from Old French prelat (Modern French prélate) and directly from Medieval Latin prelatus "clergyman of high rank," from Latin praelatus "one preferred," noun use of past participle of praeferre "place or set before, carry in front" (see prefer), from prae "before" (see pre-) + lātus "borne, carried" (see oblate (n.)). By late 14c. it was a generic term for a member of the clergy, regardless of rank.
updated on October 17, 2020
Dictionary entries near prelate