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[proh-thon-uh-ter-ee, proh-thuh-noh-tuh-ree] /proʊˈθɒn əˌtɛr i, ˌproʊ θəˈnoʊ tə ri/
noun, plural prothonotaries.
a chief clerk or official in certain courts of law.
Roman Catholic Church.
  1. any of the seven members of the college of prothonotaries apostolic, charged chiefly with the registry of pontifical acts and canonizations.
  2. an honorary title for certain other prelates.
Greek Orthodox Church. the chief secretary of the patriarch of Constantinople.
Also, protonotary.
Origin of prothonotary
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin prōthonotārius, Late Latin prōtonotārius < Greek prōtonotā́rios. See proto-, notary
Related forms
[proh-thon-uh-tair-ee-uh l, proh-thuh-noh-tair-] /proʊˌθɒn əˈtɛər i əl, ˌproʊ θə noʊˈtɛər-/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for prothonotary


/ˌprəʊθəˈnəʊtərɪ; -trɪ; prəʊˈθɒnə-/
noun (pl) -taries
(formerly) a chief clerk in certain law courts
Derived Forms
prothonotarial (prəʊˌθɒnəˈtɛərɪəl), protonotarial, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Medieval Latin prōthonotārius, from prōtho-proto- + Late Latin notāriusnotary
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for prothonotary

also protonotary, mid-15c., "principal clerk of a court," from Late Latin prothonotarius, from Greek protonotarios "first scribe," originally the recorder of the court of the Byzantine empire, from protos "first" (see proto-) + Latin notarius (see notary). The -h- appeared in Medieval Latin

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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