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English (mainly West Midlands): from Middle English pr(i)est ‘minister of the Church’ (Old English preost, from Latin presbyter, Greek presbyteros ‘elder’, ‘counselor’, comparative of presbys ‘old man’), used as a nickname, either for someone with a pious manner or possibly for someone who had played the part of a priest in a pageant. It may also have been an occupational name for someone in the service of a priest, and occasionally it may have been used to denote someone suspected of being the son of a priest.