Share this entry

priority Line breaks: pri¦or|ity
Pronunciation: /prʌɪˈɒrɪti/

Definition of priority in English:

noun (plural priorities)

[mass noun]
1The fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important than others: the safety of the country takes priority over any other matter
More example sentences
  • Financing the country's energy is an absolute necessity and takes priority over all things.
  • We do develop the local into good quality players but there comes a time when work takes priority over the game.
  • European Community law is potentially more powerful, since it takes priority over domestic law.
prime concern, first concern, most important consideration, most pressing matter, matter of greatest importance, primary issue
precedence, greater importance, preference, precedency, pre-eminence, first/highest place, predominance, primacy, the lead, weighting, weight
1.1 [count noun] A thing that is regarded as more important than others: housework didn’t figure high on her list of priorities
More example sentences
  • As ever, humour was high on their list of priorities with this collection of one-act plays.
  • People at the meeting said the two disagreed fundamentally on their priorities.
  • We have to put ecological sanity and human rights at the top of our list of priorities.
1.2British The right to proceed before other traffic: priority is given to traffic already on the roundabout
More example sentences
  • The following two sections deal with bus lanes and traffic signal priority respectively.
  • Give the bus priority over other traffic by fitting a musical klaxon, like the emergency services.
  • Do taxis in Skipton have priority over all traffic?


Late Middle English (denoting precedence in time or rank): from Old French priorite, from medieval Latin prioritas, from Latin prior 'former' (see prior1).

Words that rhyme with priority

authority, inferiority, juniority, majority, minority, seniority, sonority, sorority, superiority

Definition of priority in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fɔːˈtɪsɪməʊ
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly