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

  • n. A university administrator of high rank.
  • n. The highest official in certain cathedrals or collegiate churches.
  • n. The keeper of a prison.
  • n. The chief magistrate of certain Scottish cities.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The equivalent of mayor in some Scottish cities.
  • n. A senior academic administrator; sometimes called the Vice-President of Academic Affairs.
  • n. The highest position in a monastery below an abbot.
  • n. A prison keeper, especially in the military.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A person who is appointed to superintend, or preside over, something; the chief magistrate in some cities and towns
  • n. The keeper of a prison.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who is appointed to superintend or preside over something; the chief or head of certain bodies.
  • n. The keeper of a prison; a chief jailer.
  • n. Formerly, one holding a position in the English schools of fence higher than that of scholar and lower than that of master.
  • n. A temporary prison in which the military police confine prisoners until they are disposed of.
  • n. In the navy, an officer who is charged with the safe-keeping of a prisoner, pending his trial by a court martial, and who is responsible for his production before the court whenever his presence is required.

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

  • n. a high-ranking university administrator


Middle English, from Old English profost and Old French provost, both from Medieval Latin prōpositus, alteration of Latin praepositus, person placed over others, superintendent, from past participle of praepōnere, to place over : prae-, pre- + pōnere, to put; see apo- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Medieval Latin prōpositus, from Latin praepositus ("placed in front"). (Wiktionary)



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