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Last name origins & meanings:

  1. Southern English, Scottish, Dutch, and German: ultimately from Latin prior ‘superior’, used to denote a prior, a monastic official immediately subordinate to an abbot, hence a nickname for someone thought to resemble a prior or, more often, an occupational name for a servant of a prior.
  2. Irish: Anglicized form of Irish Gaelic Mac an Phríora ‘son of the prior’ (this is the usual origin in Counties Cavan and Leitrim). Some examples may be Anglo-Norman, the same name as in 1.
  3. Portuguese, Spanish, and Catalan: from prior, probably denoting someone in the service of a prior or a nickname for someone who behaved in a pompous way.
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