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See also: prérogative


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Alternative forms[edit]


From Anglo-Norman prerogative (noun), from Latin praerogātīva (previous verdict; claim, privilege), noun use of the feminine singular of praerogātīvus (having first vote; privileged).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /pɹɪˈɹɒɡ.ə.tɪv/
  • (US) IPA(key): /pɹəˈɹɑɡ.ə.tɪv/, /pəˈɹɑ.ɡə.tɪv/
  • (file)


prerogative (plural prerogatives)

  1. An exclusive hereditary or official right or privilege.
  2. A right, or power that is exclusive to a monarch etc, especially such a power to make a decision or judgement.
    • 1776, Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol I, ch 1-pt i:
      The military fame of a subject was considered as an insolent invasion of the Imperial prerogative; and it became the duty, as well as interest, of every Roman general, to guard the frontiers intrusted to his care, without aspiring to conquests which might have proved no less fatal to himself than to the vanquished barbarians.
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XLII, in Francesca Carrara. [], volume III, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, page 352:
      Lord Avonleigh had decided on taking refuge in wounded dignity, when he was again addressed by the King. "The castle holds another prisoner, to whom I intend extending the best prerogative of my crown—mercy. Will you order Robert Evelyn to be brought before me?"
  3. A right, especially when due to one's position or role.
    • 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], “Reminiscences”, in Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, page 206:
      I hear my chair in the hall; and to keep Lord Marchmont waiting, when he has announced his intention of supping at home, far exceeds my prerogative; so good night, dearest, you will either see or hear from me to-morrow.
    • 2002, Patrick Robinson, The Shark Mutiny, page 48:
      "Ah, that's your prerogative as an Intelligence officer, Jimmy. But it's been your prerogative for weeks, months, and nothing has happened, as I told you [] "
    • 2004, Joel Osteen, Your best life now: 7 steps to living at your full potential, page 92:
      If you want to wear your hair a certain way, that's your prerogative. You don't have to check with all your friends to make sure it's okay.
    • 2005, Tracy Hogg, Melinda Blau, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate, page 56:
      If you choose another approach — that's your prerogative. But the problem is that parents often don't realize they're making the choice []
    • 2020 December 2, Andy Byford talks to Paul Clifton, “I enjoy really big challenges...”, in Rail, page 55:
      "I know what is important to Sadiq [Khan, London Mayor], and I know how to explain things to him in a way that maximises our chances of getting the right thing. If he chooses not to take my advice, that is absolutely his prerogative. But he gave me the job, and I intend to pay him back by delivering what he needs."
  4. A property, attribute or ability which gives one a superiority or advantage over others; an inherent advantage or privilege; a talent.



prerogative (comparative more prerogative, superlative most prerogative)

  1. Having a hereditary or official right or privilege.
  2. Characterized by lawless state actions, as in a prerogative state.
    • 2020, Jan Christoph Suntrup, “Between prerogative power and legality – reading Ernst Fraenkel’s The Dual State as an analytical tool for present authoritarian rule”, in Jurisprudence, volume 11, number 3, →DOI, pages 335–359:
      Law-eroding prerogative developments cannot only be witnessed in hybrid regimes, but also in democratic states, which resort to reflections and practices of an ‘enemy criminal law’, and in the European Union’s recent crisis politics.

Derived terms[edit]





prerogative f pl

  1. plural of prerogativa


Middle French[edit]


Either inherited from Old French prerogative or independently borrowed from Latin praerogativa.


prerogative f (plural prerogatives)

  1. prerogative; privilege


prerogative f sg

  1. feminine singular of prerogatif

Old French[edit]


First known attestation 1234 by Huon de Meri in Le tornoiement de l'Antéchrist. Borrowed from Latin praerogātīva (previous verdict; claim, privilege).


prerogative f (oblique plural prerogatives, nominative singular prerogative, nominative plural prerogatives)

  1. prerogative (right or privilege)