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priori m

  1. A self evident truth that does not require reasoning.
    • 1846: Theophilus Cibber, The Poetical Works of Alexander Pope, p294; quoting the original work of:
    • 1743: Alexander Pope, The New Dunciad — Book Ⅳ, lines 469–476
      All-seeing in thy mists, we want no guide,
      Mother of arrogance, and source of pride !
      We nobly take the high priori road,
      And reason downward till we doubt of God ;
      Make nature still encroach upon his plan,
      And shove him off as far as e’er we can :
      Thrust some mechanic cause into his place,
      Or bind in matter, or diffuse in space.
  2. Part of the expression a priori.


Nota Bene: not a priori. English? --Connel MacKenzie 03:27, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

Erudite journos/academics often (it seems) use non-English phrases to show off their erudition. Mr Ignoramous may rush to Wiktionary to look up priori (not realising that it is a phrase which includes the "a"). Alternatively, it could be shown as a "see also" but might be overlooked there. I have added a (slightly unsatisfactorily worded) definition. —SaltmarshTalk 07:03, 15 October 2007 (UTC)
It does not seem to be used separately in English except as part of the phrase a priori. However, the OED has it as an obsolete adjective meaning high. SemperBlotto 07:06, 15 October 2007 (UTC)
It may not be used on its own in English - my point was (to take a different example) if I see "bene" written down how am I supposed to know that I have to look up "nota bene" to discover the usage. We should be trying to help those who feel challenged by the written word. In the case of "a priori" it is not obvious that "a" is part of a phrase. You wouldn't look up "a cat" ? The definition should make it plain that the word is not used on its own - but forms part of a phrase. —SaltmarshTalk 11:05, 15 October 2007 (UTC)
Two points:
  1. The phrase “a priori” is usually italicised which, when set in the context of an unitalicised sentence, strongly suggests (even to those unfamiliar with the term) that it is one phrase, rather than the indefinite article “a” followed by some unknown word, “priori”; and
  2. It looks like “priori” is used by itself — a priori can therefore be given in the ====Related terms==== section.
However, as a general point, and not just one specific to this phrase, it is a good one.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 12:35, 15 October 2007 (UTC)
This is a very good point. However, I think it might be more efficient to deal with this by fleshing out the ==Latin== section. -- Visviva 12:20, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

I found a Papal citation which seems to support this usage. Drawing conclusions from but that one quotation, I’d hazzard a guess that this is a literary abbreviation of a priori, used for metrical reasons. BTW, why is this English word tagged with a {{m}} (masculine) tag; that would be understandable if it were an agent noun, but this word…?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 09:09, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

That isn't a Papal quotation, it's from Alexander Pope. It looks to me as though priori is being used there as an adjective, not as a noun. --EncycloPetey 13:00, 15 October 2007 (UTC)
I know that — it was a joke (“papal” meaning relating to popes or the papacy is minuscule-initial anyhow). Perhaps you’re right about the adjectival use, but a priori can be adjectival too, right?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 23:16, 15 October 2007 (UTC)