Prior

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prior

1. the superior of a house and community in certain religious orders
2. the deputy head of a monastery or abbey, ranking immediately below the abbot
3. (formerly) a chief magistrate in medieval Florence and other Italian republics

Prior

Matthew. 1664--1721, English poet and diplomat, noted for his epigrammatic occasional verse
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Prior

 

(1) A superior of a small Catholic monastery.

(2) The official second in rank after the grand master in various religious orders of knights.

(3) In the medieval communes of central Italy, the head of a guild, who was usually a member of the commune’s administration (priorate).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.