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

  • n. Precedence, especially established by order of importance or urgency.
  • n. An established right to precedence.
  • n. An authoritative rating that establishes such precedence.
  • n. A preceding or coming earlier in time.
  • n. Something afforded or deserving prior attention.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An item's relative importance.
  • n. A goal of a person or an organisation.
  • n. A superior claim to use by virtue of being validly published at an earlier date.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The quality or state of being prior or antecedent in time, or of preceding something else.
  • n. Precedence; superior rank.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of being prior or antecedent, or of preceding something else: as, priority of birth: opposed to posteriority.
  • n. Precedence in place or rank; the having of certain rights before another.
  • n. In law, a precedence or preference, as when one debt is paid in priority to others, or when an execution is said to lose its priority by the neglect of the party to enforce it.
  • n. Apriority.

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

  • n. preceding in time
  • n. status established in order of importance or urgency


Middle English priorite, from Old French, from Medieval Latin priōritās, from Latin prior, first; see prior2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French priorite, from Latin prioritas. (Wiktionary)



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