prelate PRELATE

prelate

A prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy, such as a cardinal, abbot, or bishop, who has authority over lesser clergy. Both Catholic and Protestant religions have prelates in their ranks.

The source of prelate is the Latin adjective praelatus, “noble,” whose meaning is appropriate to the modern meaning, a high-level church dignitary. The word was applied to those high-ranking clergymen around the beginning of the 13th century, the Middle English coming from the Middle French prelat. As the church’s importance increased, so did the importance implied by the word prelate. Ambrose Bierce referred to a prelate as “one of Heaven’s aristocracy.”



Thesaurus

Definitions of prelate
1

n

a senior clergyman and dignitary

Synonyms:
archpriest , hierarch , high priest , primate
Examples:
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William Ralph Inge

English prelate noted for his pessimistic sermons and articles (1860-1954)
Francisco Jimenez de Cisneros

prelate who was the confessor of Isabella I and who was later appointed Grand Inquisitor (1436-1517)
John Henry Newman

English prelate and theologian who (with John Keble and Edward Pusey) founded the Oxford movement; Newman later turned to Roman Catholicism and became a cardinal (1801-1890)
Armand Jean du Plessis

French prelate and statesman; principal minister to Louis XIII (1585-1642)
Desmond Tutu

South African prelate and leader of the antiapartheid struggle (born in 1931)
James Ussher

Irish prelate who deduced from the Bible that Creation occurred in the year 4004 BC (1581-1656)
William of Wykeham

English prelate and statesman; founded a college at Oxford and Winchester College in Winchester; served as chancellor of England and bishop of Winchester (1324-1404)
Stefan Wyszynski

Polish prelate who persuaded the Soviet to allow greater religious freedom in Poland (1901-1981)
Type of:
priest

a clergyman in Christian churches who has the authority to perform or administer various religious rites; one of the Holy Orders

Word Family

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prelate

A prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy, such as a cardinal, abbot, or bishop, who has authority over lesser clergy. Both Catholic and Protestant religions have prelates in their ranks.

The source of prelate is the Latin adjective praelatus, “noble,” whose meaning is appropriate to the modern meaning, a high-level church dignitary. The word was applied to those high-ranking clergymen around the beginning of the 13th century, the Middle English coming from the Middle French prelat. As the church’s importance increased, so did the importance implied by the word prelate. Ambrose Bierce referred to a prelate as “one of Heaven’s aristocracy.”



Thesaurus

Definitions of prelate
1

n

a senior clergyman and dignitary

Synonyms:
archpriest , hierarch , high priest , primate
Examples:
show 8 examples…
hide 8 examples…
William Ralph Inge

English prelate noted for his pessimistic sermons and articles (1860-1954)
Francisco Jimenez de Cisneros

prelate who was the confessor of Isabella I and who was later appointed Grand Inquisitor (1436-1517)
John Henry Newman

English prelate and theologian who (with John Keble and Edward Pusey) founded the Oxford movement; Newman later turned to Roman Catholicism and became a cardinal (1801-1890)
Armand Jean du Plessis

French prelate and statesman; principal minister to Louis XIII (1585-1642)
Desmond Tutu

South African prelate and leader of the antiapartheid struggle (born in 1931)
James Ussher

Irish prelate who deduced from the Bible that Creation occurred in the year 4004 BC (1581-1656)
William of Wykeham

English prelate and statesman; founded a college at Oxford and Winchester College in Winchester; served as chancellor of England and bishop of Winchester (1324-1404)
Stefan Wyszynski

Polish prelate who persuaded the Soviet to allow greater religious freedom in Poland (1901-1981)
Type of:
priest

a clergyman in Christian churches who has the authority to perform or administer various religious rites; one of the Holy Orders

Word Family

Usage Examples

Sign up, it’s free!

Whether you’re a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you
on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.

Get Started

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prelate – definition and synonyms

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noun [countable] 

 prelate pronunciation in British English
/ˈprelət/

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singularprelate
pluralprelates

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  1. an official of high rank in the Christian Church such as a bishop or a cardinal

     Synonyms and related words
    People in authority in the Christian church: abbess , abbot , archbishop …

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