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[kawr-uh-fee-uh s, kor-] /ˌkɔr əˈfi əs, ˌkɒr-/
noun, plural coryphaei
[kawr-uh-fee-ahy, kor-] /ˌkɔr əˈfi aɪ, ˌkɒr-/ (Show IPA)
the leader of the chorus in the ancient Greek drama.
the leader of an operatic chorus or any group of singers.
Origin of coryphaeus
1625-35; < Latin < Greek koryphaîos leading, equivalent to koryph(ḗ) head, top + -aîos noun suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for coryphaeus
Historical Examples
  • Mrs. Smith threw in her sentiments between the acts, as coryphaeus of the tragedy, to make the description complete.

    A Pair of Blue Eyes Thomas Hardy
British Dictionary definitions for coryphaeus


noun (pl) -phaei (-ˈfiːaɪ)
(in ancient Greek drama) the leader of the chorus
(archaic or literary) a leader of a group
Word Origin
C17: from Latin, from Greek koruphaios leader, from koruphē summit
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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