see also: Prior
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈpɹaɪɚ/

prior (not comparable)

  1. Advance; previous; coming before.
    I had no prior knowledge you were coming.
  2. Former, previous.
    His prior residence was smaller than his current one.
Synonyms Antonyms Related terms Translations Adverb


  1. (colloquial) Previously.
    Synonyms: ago, hitherto
    The doctor had known three months prior.

prior (plural priors)

  1. A high-ranking member of a monastery, usually lower in rank than an abbot.
  2. (historical) A chief magistrate in Italy.
  3. (US, law enforcement) A previous arrest or criminal conviction on someone's record. [from 19th c.]
    • 1939, Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep, Penguin 2011, p. 53:
      ‘And a little later we get the routine report on his prints from Washington, and he's got a prior back in Indiana, attempted hold-up six years ago.’
  4. (statistics) In Bayesian inference, a prior probability distribution, one based on information or belief before additional data is collected. [from 20th c.]
  • (second-in-command to an abbot) provost
Related terms Translations Translations
Proper noun
  1. Surname for someone employed by a prior.

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