Definitions

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

  • n. A high-ranking member of the clergy, especially a bishop.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A clergyman of high rank and authority, having jurisdiction over an area or a group of people; normally a bishop.
  • v. To act as a prelate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A clergyman of a superior order, as an archbishop or a bishop, having authority over the lower clergy; a dignitary of the church.
  • intransitive v. To act as a prelate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An ecclesiastic of a higher order, having direct and not delegated authority over other ecclesiastics.
  • To act as a prelate; perform the duties of a prelate.

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

  • n. a senior clergyman and dignitary

Etymologies

Middle English prelat, from Old French, from Medieval Latin praelātus, from Latin, past participle of praeferre, to carry before, to prefer : prae-, pre- + lātus, brought; see telə- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old French prelat, from Medieval Latin praelatus, form past participle of praeferre ("to prefer"). (Wiktionary)

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