Date: 14th century
(1) the quality or state of being prior
(2) precedence in date or position of publication — used of taxa
(1) superiority in rank, position, or privilege
(2) legal precedence in exercise of rights over the same subject matter
2. a preferential rating; especially one that allocates rights to goods and services usually in limited supply <that project has top priority> 3. something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.