prior (not comparable)
- advance; coming before
- I had no prior knowledge you were coming.
- former, previous
- His prior residence was smaller than his current one.
The etymological antonym is ulterior (from Latin) (compare primate/ultimate for “first/last”). This is now no longer used, however, and there is no corresponding antonym. Typically either subsequent or posterior are used, but these form different pairs – precedent/subsequent and anterior/posterior – and are more formal than prior. When an opposing pair is needed, these can be used, or other pairs such as former/latter or previous/next.
Of that which comes before, in advance
prior (comparative more prior, superlative most prior)
- (colloquial) Previously.
- The doctor had known three months prior.
prior (plural priors)
- A high-ranking member of a monastery, usually lower in rank than an abbot.
- (US slang) A previous arrest or criminal conviction on someone's record. [from 19th c.]
- 1939, Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep, Penguin 2011, p. 53:
- ‘And a little later we get the routine report on his prints from Washington, and he's got a prior back in Indiana, attempted hold-up six years ago.’
- (statistics) In Bayesian inference, a prior probability distribution. [from 20th c.]
- (second-in-command to an abbot): provost
a high-ranking member of a monastery, usually lower in rank than an abbot
a previous criminal offense on someone's record
a prior probability distribution
From Proto-Italic *priōs, from earlier *prijōs, from *pri + *-jōs, thus the comparative degree of Old Latin *pri (“before”), from Proto-Italic *pri from Proto-Indo-European *per- (“beyond”), *pro (“before”).
prior comparative, m./f. sing., third declension (superlative: prīmus)
- former, prior, previous (preceding in time)
- priore anno ― the year before, the previous year; during the year before
- priore aestate ― the previous summer
- priore nocte ― the previous night
27 BCE – 25 BCE
, Titus Livius
, Ab urbe condita libri 26.1
Q. Fuluio Ap. Claudio, prioris anni consulibus, prorogatum imperium est atque exercitus quos habebant decreti, adiectumque ne a Capua quam obsidebant abscederent priusquam expugnassent.
- The military authority of Quintus Fulvius and Appius Claudius, consuls of the previous year, was extended and the armies which they had were decided upon, and it was added as a proviso that they should not withdraw from Capua, which they were besieging, until they conquered it.
- the first, the original
- in front
- (figuratively) better, superior
- (substantive, Medieval Latin) abbot, prior
- This adjective has no positive form; rather, it serves as the comparative (prior) and superlative (prīmus) of the preposition prae. (Compare the preposition post, with comparative posterior and superlative postremus).
- Third declension, comparative variant
- prior in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
- prior in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
- PRIOR in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition, 1883–1887)
- Félix Gaffiot (1934), “prior”, in Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Paris: Hachette.
- Meissner, Carl; Auden, Henry William (1894) Latin Phrase-Book, London: Macmillan and Co.
- last year: superiore, priore anno
(ambiguous) there is nothing I am more interested in than..: nihil antiquius or prius habeo quam ut (nihil mihi antiquius or potius est, quam ut)