Definition of provost in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈprɒvəst/


1British The head of certain university colleges, especially at Oxford or Cambridge, and public schools.
Example sentences
  • He was appointed provost of Queen's College, Oxford in 1962, and chancellor of the Australian National University, Canberra, positions he held until his death.
  • The Royal Hospital at Kilmainham and Trinity College, as well as guilds, schools and the City Corporation, commissioned portraits of their boards, provosts and masters (as well as royal portraits to underline their loyalty).
1.1North American A senior administrative officer in certain universities.
Example sentences
  • White women provosts at leading research universities, including Ivy League institutions, are not rarities these days.
  • Each year, I meet with the president, the provost and the deans' council to determine priorities for the next fiscal year.
  • A provost at a third college commented at the start of the year about how the success of a particular initiative depended on faculty input.
2 Scottish term for mayor. See also Lord Provost.
Example sentences
  • A defection from Labour ranks to the Scottish Socialist Party in Renfrewshire a month ago means that Labour can only win votes with the casting vote of the provost.
  • The local mayor or provost should host a citizenship ceremony - as proposed in the NIA Act - which would be ‘something memorable to citizens both old and new’.
  • Then, just a day later, the peace walkers were again being officially fêted, this time at Glasgow's City Chambers, where deputy provost Jean Macey laid on food and tea for the activists, many of whom had only just been released.
3The head of a chapter in a cathedral.
Example sentences
  • I had the good fortune to discover this in my own ministry, partly because I was constantly acting in a diaconal role to my bishop as his director of ordination candidates or as the provost of his cathedral.
  • Likewise, Benvoglienti, a provost in Siena Cathedral who was attentive to ceremonial detail, commented on ritual usage of the Strada Romana on more than one occasion in De urbis Senae.
  • Bruno, provost of the diocese's Cathedral Center of St. Paul, will replace current Bishop Frederick Borsch, 64, when he retires at an unspecified future date.
3.1The Protestant minister of the principal church of a town or district in Germany and certain other European countries.
Example sentences
  • Binchois retired to Soignies in 1452 and there became provost of the collegiate church of St Vincent.
3.2 historical The head of a Christian community.
4 short for provost marshal.
5 historical The chief magistrate of a French or other European town.



Pronunciation: /ˈprɒvəstʃɪp/
Example sentences
  • Under Henry VIII, Cheke was tutor to Prince Edward who, as Edward VI, gave him land, a knighthood, and the provostship of King's College, Cambridge; he was also member of Parliament, clerk to the council, and secretary of state.
  • Together with other scientists Boyle formed the Royal Society in London in 1660, but refused the presidency, as well as the provostship of Eton, and a peerage.


Late Old English profost 'head of a chapter, prior', reinforced in Middle English by Anglo-Norman French provost, from medieval Latin propositus, synonym of Latin praepositus 'head, chief' (see praepostor).

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Line breaks: prov|ost

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