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c.1200, "ruler of a principality" (mid-12c. as a surname), from Old French prince "prince, noble lord" (12c.), from Latin princeps (genitive principis) "first man, chief leader; ruler, sovereign," noun use of adjective meaning "that takes first," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)) + root of capere "to take" (see capable). German cognate fürst, from Old High German furist "first," is apparently an imitation of the Latin formation. Colloquial meaning "admirable or generous person" is from 1911, American English. Prince Regent was the title of George, Prince of Wales (later George VI) during the mental incapacity of George III (1811-1820).
A very decent and admirable person; ace • Often used ironically: He told me he thinks you're a goddam prince (1911+)
the title generally applied to the chief men of the state. The "princes of the provinces" (1 Kings 20:14) were the governors or lord-lieutenants of the provinces. So also the "princes" mentioned in Dan. 6:1, 3, 4, 6, 7 were the officers who administered the affairs of the provinces; the "satraps" (as rendered in R.V.). These are also called "lieutenants" (Esther 3:12; 8:9; R.V., "satraps"). The promised Saviour is called by Daniel (9:25) "Messiah the Prince" (Heb. nagid); compare Acts 3:15; 5:31. The angel Micheal is called (Dan. 12:1) a "prince" (Heb. sar, whence "Sarah," the "princes").