an official in medieval France. Beginning in the 11th century, the prévôt was a royal official with judicial, fiscal, and military power within the administrative and legal districts of the king’s domain. Beginning in the 13th century, the prévôt came under the control of a bailli in the north or of a sénéchal in the south; and beginning in the 15th century he retained the function of a royal judge of first instance. The post was abolished in the 18th century.
An elected official with the title of “prévôt of merchants” headed the municipalities of medieval Paris from the 13th to the 18th century and of Lyon from the late 16th to the 18th century.