provost (n.)

Old English profost, "local governor, representative of a king in a country or district," reinforced by Old French cognate provost, both from Late Latin propositus, from Latin propositus/praepositus "a chief, prefect" (source of Old Provençal probost, Old High German probost, German Propst), literally "placed before, in charge of," past participle of praeponere "put before" (see preposition).

Provost marshal, "military officer who acts as head of police in a district, town, camp, etc., to preserve order and punish offenses against military discipline," is attested from 1510s.

updated on December 27, 2020