1. Eccl. The superior of a priory, and next below an abbot in dignity.
Conventical prior, or Conventual prior, a prior who is at the head of his own house. See the Note under Priory.
Claustral prior, an official next in rank to the abbot in a monastery; prior of the cloisters.
1. 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.
2. First, precedent, or superior in the order of cognition, reason or generality, origin, development, rank, etc.
adj : earlier in time [syn: anterior, prior(a)]
n : the head of a religious order; in an abbey the prior is next
below the abbot