from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of or relating to a praetor or the praetorship.
  • adj. Of or belonging to the Praetorian Guard.
  • adj. Venal; corruptible: "A large praetorian bureaucracy, filled with ambitious, possessive . . . and often sycophantic people, makes work and makes trouble” ( Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.)
  • n. A praetor or ex-praetor.
  • n. A member of the Praetorian Guard.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or pertaining to a praetor
  • adj. Corruptly mercenary and venal
  • n. A praetor

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. See pretorian.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. characteristic of or similar to the corruptible soldiers in the Praetorian Guard with respect to corruption or political venality
  • n. a member of the Praetorian Guard
  • adj. of or relating to a Roman praetor


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The Japanese, on the contrary, were enrolled as a kind of praetorian guard, or janissaries; in this character, however, their pride and power became so formidable that the king grew uneasy and disbanded them.

    The English Governess at the Siamese Court

  • Since when do candidates for the Senate walk around with their own praetorian guard that puts members of the press corp in handcuffs?

    Jacob Heilbrunn: It's Not Miller Time

  • In an odd way, the halfhearted, demoralizing, aborted operations in Vilnius and elsewhere may have inoculated the system against successful praetorian intervention.

    The Return

  • But at the regime's apex—Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, his praetorian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the clergy who've remained committed to theocracy—religious ideology and anti-Americanism have intensified.

    Iran's Act of War

  • Although disposing of only a dozen operational helicopters and confronting the praetorian Presidential Guard which itself possessed armored vehicles, the more professional and united military managed to subdue its opponents over the course of several days.

    Clement M. Henry: The Tunisian Army: Defending the Beachhead of Democracy in the Arab World

  • Realizing that the end was near, Ben Ali fled, leaving some members of his family in the lurch and unleashing his praetorian Presidential Guard as well as the other security forces to confront the swelling ranks of demonstrators.

    Clement M. Henry: The Tunisian Army: Defending the Beachhead of Democracy in the Arab World

  • But he also cautions that Egypt "is now and is likely to remain a praetorian state," where the military plays a dominant role.

    Pivotal Moment for America

  • Assured of his own righteousness, Gadhafi will fight to the bitter end with whatever trusted advisers and praetorian guards will stick by his side.

    Gadhafi's Utopian Ideology

  • Each day Commander Ailes leaves for his office and returns home surrounded by a modern praetorian guard composed of private-security-owned SUVs.

    Meet the fantastic Mr Fox

  • The idea that he will be defenestrated by his party is unlikely, given his survival record and the strength of his praetorian guard.

    Tony Blair: The Next Labour Prime Minister?


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Sandra Bullock's The Net had it pronounced as Pray-torian

    January 1, 2013

  • I've always heard it pronounced "pray-torian."

    July 17, 2009

  • Does anyone know if it's 'preetorian' or 'praytorian'?

    July 17, 2009