Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Prerogative

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is prerogative. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Prerogative means “right or privilege,” and especially refers to a special right or privilege that some people have.

// If you’d rather sell the tickets than use them, that’s your prerogative.


“The stakes never feel particularly high on Darkthrone albums anymore, which usually works in the band’s favor. They release a ton of music, and almost all of it is at least pretty good. Nocturno Culto and Fenriz have already pushed each other to peaks that few others have scaled, and if they now tend to sound more like a couple of aging pals jamming together, that’s their prerogative.” — Brad Sanders, Pitchfork, 3 Nov. 2022

Did You Know?

In ancient Rome, voting at legal assemblies was done by group, with the majority in a group determining the vote. The group chosen to vote first on an issue was called the praerogātīva, a word rooted in Latin rogāre, “to ask; to ask an assembly for a decision.” When English adopted prerogative from Latin, via Anglo-French, in the 15th century, it took only the idea of the privilege the ancient Roman voting group enjoyed; the English word referred then, as it also does now, to an exclusive or special right, power, or privilege. Often such a prerogative is tied to an office, official body, or nation, but as Bobby Brown reminded us in his 1988 song “My Prerogative,” the right to live as you like can also be referred to as a prerogative.

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