AskDefine | Define prestige

Dictionary Definition

prestige n : a high standing achieved through success or influence or wealth etc.; "he wanted to achieve power and prestige" [syn: prestigiousness]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Prestige



  • /prɛstiʒ/


  1. Delusion; illusion; trick.
    • Bp. Warburton:
      The sophisms of infidelity, and the prestiges of imposture.
  2. The quality of how good the reputation of something or someone is, how favourably something or someone is regarded
    Oxford has a university of very high prestige.

Derived terms


Extensive Definition

Prestige is a word commonly used to describe reputation or esteem, though it has three somewhat related meanings that, to some degree, may be contradictory. Which meaning applies depends on the historical context and the person using the word.
Originally, prestige referred to pomposity, which was taken as a sign of poor taste. In this regard, the word had strictly negative connotations. Indeed, the root of the word "prestige" comes from the Latin præstigum, meaning a delusion or a trick. In some Romance languages "prestige" retains this original meaning.
Prestige has also come to be known as the finishing act in a magician's trick, a finale of sorts, where, for example, the object of the magician's trick is returned from disappearance or a woman reappears unharmed from a box of swords. A magician's trick is divided into 3 parts: the pledge, the turn, and the prestige. The pledge is where he dares to dramatize his act; the turn, where he makes the item disappear; and finally the prestige, where the disappeared item reappears.
prestige in Czech: Prestiž
prestige in Danish: Prestige
prestige in German: Prestige
prestige in Estonian: Prestiiž
prestige in Spanish: Prestigio
prestige in Italian: Prestigio
prestige in Polish: Prestiż
prestige in Portuguese: Prestígio

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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