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prior (adj.)

"earlier," 1714, from Latin prior "former, previous, first;" figuratively "superior, better;" as a noun "forefather; superior rank;" comparative of Old Latin pri "before," from PIE *prai-, *prei-, from root *per- (1) "forward," hence "in front of, before, first."

prior (n.)

"superior officer of a religious house or order," late Old English, from Medieval Latin prior "superior officer," noun use of Latin adjective meaning "former, superior" (see prior (adj.)). As short for prior arrest, by 1990, American English.

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Definitions of prior from WordNet
1
prior (n.)
the head of a religious order; in an abbey the prior is next below the abbot;
2
prior (adj.)
earlier in time;
Synonyms: anterior
From wordnet.princeton.edu