a person appointed to any of various positions of command, authority, or superintendence, as a chief magistrate in ancient Rome or the chief administrative official of a department of France or Italy.
Roman Catholic Church.
the dean of a Jesuit school or college.
a cardinal in charge of a congregation in the Curia Romana.
Chiefly British. a praeposter.
Also, praefect.

1300–50; Middle English < Latin praefectus overseer, director (noun use of past participle of praeficere to make prior, i.e., put in charge), equivalent to prae- pre- + -fectus (combining form of factus, past participle of facere to make, do1); see fact

subprefect, noun
underprefect, noun

perfect, prefect (see usage note at perfect). Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
prefect (ˈpriːfɛkt)
1.  (in France, Italy, etc) the chief administrative officer in a department
2.  (in France, etc) the head of a police force
3.  (Brit) a schoolchild appointed to a position of limited power over his fellows
4.  (in ancient Rome) any of several magistrates or military commanders
5.  RC Church Also called: prefect apostolic an official having jurisdiction over a missionary district that has no ordinary
6.  RC Church one of two senior masters in a Jesuit school or college (the prefect of studies and the prefect of discipline or first prefect)
7.  RC Church a cardinal in charge of a congregation of the Curia
[C14: from Latin praefectus one put in charge, from praeficere to place in authority over, from prae before + facere to do, make]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

c.1350, from O.Fr. prefect (12c.), from L. præfectus "public overseer, director," prop. pp. of præficere "to put in front, to set over, put in authority," from præ- "in front, before" + root of facere (pp. factus) "to perform" (see factitious). Spelling
restored from M.E. prefet. Meaning "administrative head of the Paris police" is from 1827; meaning "senior pupil designated to keep order in an Eng. school" is from 1865. Prefecture "administrative district of a prefect" is recorded from 1577.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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