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prius

[prahy-uh s] /ˈpraɪ əs/
adjective
1.
(in prescriptions) before; former.
Origin
1890-1895
1890-95; < Latin

Prius

[pree-uh s] /ˈpri əs/
noun, plural Prius, Prii
[pree-ahy] /ˈpri aɪ/ (Show IPA).
Trademark.
1.
a brand of hybrid car, one of the first commercially successful, that runs at lower speeds on an electric motor powered by a battery pack, and at higher speeds on a gasoline engine, which can also recharge the battery.
Origin
1997; from the Latin prius meaning “coming before”; also related to such English words as “prior” and “primary”
Related Quotations
“In hybrids such as the Toyota Prius, computer software decides when to run the [gasoline] engine, when to run the electric motor and when to recharge the battery. … A full hybrid, such as the Toyota Prius, can provide a fuel economy improvement of 60 percent or more.“
—Joseph J. Romm and Andrew A. Fran, “Hybrid Vehicles Gain Traction“ Scientific American (April 2006)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin and History for prius
n.

"that which takes precedence," noun use of Latin neuter of prior "former, earlier" (see prior (adj.)). The hybrid car (with a capital P- ) debuted in 1997 in Japan, 2001 in U.S. and Europe. Name supposedly chosen because the car is a predecessor of new types. Proper plural is said to be Priora, but that is for the adjective.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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