In a word: Prior

Of course, prior means gone before, as in past history, or perhaps only a few moments ago; it happened prior to my arrival on the scene.

But it can also mean, quite confusingly, to something in the future, when trying to get out of a meeting by saying I’ve got a prior appointment.

If you are an aficionado of American police dramas then you will be well acquainted with the prior, meaning a previous criminal conviction.


And for something quite different, a prior is a priest of sorts, who to me were named as such in the middle ages.  A prior is below an Abbot and is head of a house of friars.  By the way, the most notable friar I know is Friar Tuck

A prior could also be a magistrate in the medieval republic of Florence.


It is not to be doubly confused with Pryer or Prier

Someone who pries into another’s business, the most notable prier, the woman across the road from Samantha, in Bewitched.


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