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Anglo-Norman and Middle French priorite precedence in time, order or rank (1323 in Anglo-Norman; French priorité) and its etymon post-classical Latin prioritas fact of preceding, precedence (12th cent.; 1225, c1414 in British sources), forebears, ancestry (1282, 15th cent. in British sources) < classical Latin prior


  • 1. a. Precedence in order or rank. Now rare (in later use passing into sense A. 1b).
b. The right to precede others or to receive something before others. Freq. with modifying adjective, as first, high, top priority.
c. Chiefly Brit. The right to proceed before other traffic.
d. A thing that is regarded as more important than others; something which needs special attention. Freq. in pl.
For lessons on the topic of Priorities, follow this link.
  • 2. The fact or condition of being earlier in time; the fact of preceding something or someone else.
a. A precedence among claims; a preference in order of payment, esp. between creditors.
b. Earlier commitment or claim. Obs.
  • 4. Taxonomy. The claim of the earliest validly published Latin name to be taken as the correct one for a particular organism. Freq. in law of priority or principle of priority.
  • 5. Of or relating to priority or priorities; that has precedence; that is considered more or most important.