Preceding in the order of time; former; antecedent; anterior; previous; as, a prior discovery; prior obligation; -- used elliptically in cases like the following: he lived alone [in the time] prior to his marriage.
- Preceding in time or order: "[They] insist that foreign vessels seeking access obtain prior approval” ( Seymour M. Hersh).
- Preceding in importance or value: a prior consideration.
- A monastic officer in charge of a priory or ranking next below the abbot of an abbey.
- One of the ruling magistrates of the medieval Italian republic of Florence.