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.
- 3. Law.
- 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.