Prelate

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Prelate'

Prelate Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    prelate n : a senior clergyman and dignitary [syn: archpriest, hierarch, high priest, primate]
Prelate Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Prelate \Prel"ate\ (?; 48), n. [F. pr['e]lat, LL. praelatus, fr. L. praelatus, used as p. p. of praeferre to prefer, but from a different root. See Elate.] A clergyman of a superior order, as an archbishop or a bishop, having authority over the lower clergy; a dignitary of the church. Note: This word and the words derived from it are often used invidiously, in English ecclesiastical history, by dissenters, respecting the Established Church system. Hear him but reason in divinity, . . . You would desire the king were made a prelate. --Shak.
Prelate Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Prelate \Prel"ate\, v. i. To act as a prelate. [Obs.] Right prelating is busy laboring, and not lording. --Latimer.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Prelate'


A prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy who is an ordinary or who ranks in precedence with ordinaries. The word derives from the Latin prælatus, the past participle of præferre, which means "carry before," "be set above or over" or "prefer"; hence, a prelate is one set over others.

A prelature is the office of a prelate or the entire juridical entity which the prelate governs. Prelacy is the body of prelates as a whole or a system of government, administration or ministry by prelates.

The archetypal prelate is a bishop, whose prelature is his particular church. All other prelates, including the regular prelates such as abbots and major superiors, are based upon this original model of prelacy.

Sometimes the clergy of a state church with a formal hierarchy are called prelates without having ordinary jurisdiction, which etymologically suggests that the prelate enjoys legal privileges and power as a result of clerical status.

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