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French, from Middle French, conjuror's trick, illusion, from Latin praestigiae, plural, conjuror's tricks, from praestringere to graze, blunt, constrict, from prae- + stringere to bind tight. 1372 in Middle French denoting an illusion produced by magic, 1688 denoting an illusion produced by natural means; now rare), attractive quality of people or things which inspires respect and admiration (c1750; compare earlier use denoting the favourable impression made by works of literature


  • 1 : standing or estimation in the eyes of people : weight or credit in general opinion
  • 2 : commanding position in people's minds



Prestige is a word commonly used to describe reputation or esteem, though it has three somewhat related meanings that, to some degree, may be contradictory. Which meaning applies depends on the historical context and the person using the word.

Originally, prestige referred to pomposity, which was taken as a sign of poor taste. In this regard, the word had strictly negative connotations. Indeed, the root of the word "prestige" comes from the Latin præstigum, meaning a delusion or a trick. In some Romance languages "prestige" retains this original meaning.