1. A roman officer who controlled or superintended a particular command, charge, department, etc.; as, the prefect of the aqueducts; the prefect of a camp, of a fleet, of the city guard, of provisions; the pretorian prefect, who was commander of the troops guarding the emperor's person.

2. A superintendent of a department who has control of its police establishment, together with extensive powers of municipal regulation.

3. In the greek and roman Catholic churches, a title of certain dignitaries below the rank of bishop. Apostolic prefect, the head of a mission, not of episcopal rank.

Origin: L. Praefectus, fr. Praefectus, p. P. Of praeficere to set over; prae = before _ facere = to make: cf. F. Prefet.

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