Pre"fect (?), n. [L. praefectus, fr. praefectus, p. p. of praeficere to set over; prae before + facere to make: cf. F. pr'efet.]
A Roman officer who controlled or superintended a particular command, charge, department, etc.; as, the prefect of the aqueducts; the prefect of a camp, of a fleet, of the city guard, of provisions; the pretorian prefect, who was commander of the troops guarding the emperor's person.
A superintendent of a department who has control of its police establishment, together with extensive powers of municipal regulation.
Brande & C.
In the Greek and Roman Catholic churches, a title of certain dignitaries below the rank of bishop.
Apostolic prefect R. C. Ch., the head of a mission, not of episcopal rank.
© Webster 1913.