- first or highest in rank, importance, value, etc.; chief; foremost.
- of, of the nature of, or constituting principal or capital: a principal investment.
- Geometry. (of an axis of a conic) passing through the foci.
- a chief or head.
- the head or director of a school or, especially in England, a college.
- a person who takes a leading part in any activity, as a play; chief actor or doer.
- the first player of a division of instruments in an orchestra (excepting the leader of the first violins).
- something of principal or chief importance.
- a person who authorizes another, as an agent, to represent him or her.
- a person directly responsible for a crime, either as an actual perpetrator or as an abettor present at its commission.Compare accessory(def 3).
- a person primarily liable for an obligation, in contrast with an endorser, or the like.
- the main body of an estate, or the like, as distinguished from income.
- Finance. a capital sum, as distinguished from interest or profit.
- an organ stop.
- the subject of a fugue.
- (in a framed structure) a member, as a truss, upon which adjacent or similar members depend for support or reinforcement.
- each of the combatants in a duel, as distinguished from the seconds.
Origin of principal
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for principalship
Dr. Halley from age and infirmities, retired from the principalship.Recollections of a Long Life
His wife, the mother of two boys, secured a position in the public schools and by her ability, won her way to a principalship.
In 1885 he retired, full of years and honours, from the principalship of the college he had so long served and adorned.
Four years of his principalship were successful beyond expectation.
- first in importance, rank, value, etc; chief
- denoting or relating to capital or property as opposed to interest, etc
- a person who is first in importance or directs some event, action, organization, etc
- (in Britain) a civil servant of an executive grade who is in charge of a section
- a person who engages another to act as his agent
- an active participant in a crime
- the person primarily liable to fulfil an obligation
- the head of a school or other educational institution
- (in Scottish schools) a head of department
- capital or property, as contrasted with the income derived from it
- the original amount of a debt on which interest is calculated
- a main roof truss or rafter
- the chief instrumentalist in a section of the orchestra
- one of the singers in an opera company
- either of two types of open diapason organ stops, one of four-foot length and pitch and the other of eight-foot length and pitch
- the leading performer in a play
Word Origin and History for principalship
c.1300, "main, principal, chief, dominant, most important;" also "great, large," from Old French principal "main, most important," of persons, "princely, high-ranking" (11c.), from Latin principalis "first in importance; original, primitive," from princeps (see prince).
c.1300, "ruler, governor;" also "main part;" from principal (adj.) or from or influenced by noun uses in Old French and Latin. From mid-14c. in the sense of "money on which interest is paid;" 1827 as "person in charge of a public school," though meaning "head of a college or hall" was in English from mid-15c.
The original amount of money lent, not including profits and interest.