Previous vs. Prior

By Jaxson

  • Prior

    Prior, derived from the Latin for “earlier, first”, (or prioress for nuns) is an ecclesiastical title for a superior, usually lower in rank than an abbot or abbess. Its earlier generic usage referred to any monastic superior.

  • Previous (adjective)

    Prior; occurring before something else, either in time or order.

    “He is no better than the previous Prime Minister.”

  • Previous (adjective)

    Premature; acting or occurring too soon.

  • Previous (noun)

    An existing criminal record (short for “previous convictions”)

    “It turned out the shoplifter had a lot of previous.”

  • Previous (noun)

    a track record of similar behaviour.

  • Prior (adjective)

    Advance; previous; coming before.

    “I had no prior knowledge you were coming.”

  • Prior (adjective)

    Former, previous.

    “His prior residence was smaller than his current one.”

  • Prior (adverb)


    “The doctor had known three months prior.”

  • Prior (noun)

    A high-ranking member of a monastery, usually lower in rank than an abbot.

  • Prior (noun)

    A chief magistrate in Italy.

  • Prior (noun)

    A previous arrest or criminal conviction on someone’s record. from 19th c.

  • Prior (noun)

    In Bayesian inference, a prior probability distribution, one based on information or belief before additional data is collected. from 20th c.


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