[proh-vohst, prov-uhst or, esp. in military usage, proh-voh]
a person appointed to superintend or preside.
an administrative officer in any of various colleges and universities who holds high rank and is concerned with the curriculum, faculty appointments, etc.
Ecclesiastical. the chief dignitary of a cathedral or collegiate church.
the steward or bailiff of a medieval manor or an officer of a medieval administrative district.
the mayor of a municipality in Scotland.
Obsolete. a prison warden.

before 900; Middle English; Old English profost < Medieval Latin prōpositus abbot, prior, provost, literally, (one) placed before, Latin: past participle of prōpōnere. See pro-1, posit

provostship, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
provost (ˈprɒvəst)
1.  an appointed person who superintends or presides
2.  the head of certain university colleges or schools
3.  Compare convener (in Scotland) the chairman and civic head of certain district councils or (formerly) of a burgh council
4.  Church of England the senior dignitary of one of the more recent cathedral foundations
5.  RC Church
 a.  the head of a cathedral chapter in England and some other countries
 b.  (formerly) the member of a monastic community second in authority under the abbot
6.  (in medieval times) an overseer, steward, or bailiff in a manor
7.  obsolete a prison warder
8.  (Brit), (Canadian) military a military policeman
[Old English profost, from Medieval Latin prōpositus placed at the head (of), from Latin praepōnere to place first, from prae- before + pōnere to put]

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

O.E. profost, from M.L. propositus (reinforced by O.Fr. cognate provost), from L. propositus, præpositus "a chief, prefect" (cf. O.Prov. probost, O.H.G. probost, Ger. Propst), lit. "placed before, in charge of," from pp. of præponere "put before" (see
preposition). Provost marshal first recorded 1513.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


in French law, an inferior royal judge under the ancien regime, who, during the later Middle Ages, often served as an administrator of the domain. The position appears to date from the 11th century, when the Capetian dynasty of kings sought a means to render justice within their realm and to subject their vassals to royal control

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
My provost asked me to evaluate an overseas colleague.
He and the university provost have been embroiled in a particularly acrimonious
The dean reports to the provost and provides intellectual leadership and
  academic management for the college.
He did not earn a doctorate, did not teach or publish research and was never a
  department chairman or dean or provost.
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