From Middle English, from late Old English profost, from Late Latin prōpositus, variant of Latin praepositus (“[one] placed in command”). In some senses, via Anglo-Norman provolt &c.; via Anglo-Norman and Old French provost (modern French prévôt). As a Central European ecclesiastical office, via German Propst, Danish provst, &c.
- (UK) IPA(key): /ˈpɹɒvəst/, /ˈpɹɒvɒst/
(As military police): IPA(key): /pɹəʊˈvəʊ/
- (US) IPA(key): /ˈpɹoʊvoʊst /, /ˈpɹɑvəst/
provost (plural provosts)
- One placed in charge: a head, a chief, particularly:
- (religion, historical) A dean: the head of a cathedral chapter.
- (religion) The head of various other ecclesiastical bodies, even (rare, obsolete) muezzins.
- (religion) The minister of the chief Protestant church of a town or region in Germany, the Low Countries, and Scandinavia.
- (Britain, higher education) The head of various colleges and universities.
- (obsolete) A ruler.
- A mayor: the chief magistrate of a town, particularly (Scotland) the head of a burgh or (historical) the former chiefs of various towns in France, Flanders, or (by extension) other Continental European countries.
- A senior deputy, a superintendent, particularly:
- (religion, historical) A prior: an abbot's second-in-command.
- (US, higher education) A senior deputy administrator; a vice-president of academic affairs.
- (historical) A steward or seneschal: a medieval agent given management of a feudal estate or charged with collecting fees; (obsolete, sometimes as ~ of Paradise or ~ of Heaven) a title of the archangel Michael.
- (historical) Any manager or overseer in a medieval or early modern context.
- (obsolete) A viceroy.
- (obsolete) A governor.
- (obsolete) A reeve.
- (obsolete) Various Roman offices, as prefect and praetor.
- (historical) A constable: a medieval or early modern official charged with arresting, holding, and punishing criminals.
- (military) An officer of the military police, particularly provost marshal or provost sergeant.
- (fencing, historical) An assistant fencing master.
- (Britain, military slang, obsolete) A provost cell: a military cell or prison.
- (head of cathedral chapter): See dean
- (head of a university or college): president, dean
- (head of a realm or state): See Thesaurus:ruler
- (head of a town): See mayor
- (head of various specific bodies): prepositus
- (deputy overseeing medieval estates or fees): See steward
- (deputy to a king or emperor): See viceroy
- (deputy overseeing a province): See governor
- (reeve): See reeve
- (Roman officials): See prefect and praetor
- (deputy overseeing medieval law enforcement; military police): See Thesaurus:police officer
- Lord Provost
- provost cell
- Provost Marshall, provost marshal
- provost seal
- provost sergeant
- sit provost-place
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.
- (Britain, transitive, used in passive, obsolete, military slang) To be delivered to a provost marshal for punishment.
- Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd ed. "provost, n." and "† provost, v." Oxford University Press (Oxford), 2007.