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Old English profost, reinforced by Old French cognate provost, both from Late Latin propositus (reinforced by Old French cognate provost), from Latin propositus/praepositus "a chief, prefect" (source of Old Provençal probost, Old High German probost, German Propst), literally "placed before, in charge of," from past participle of praeponere "put before" (see preposition). Provost marshal first recorded 1510s.
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