Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

superintendent

[soo-per-in-ten-duh nt, soo-prin-]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a person who oversees or directs some work, enterprise, establishment, organization, district, etc.; supervisor.
  2. a person who is in charge of maintenance and repairs of an apartment house; custodian.
  3. a high-ranking police officer, especially a chief of police or an officer ranking next above an inspector.
Show More
adjective
  1. superintending.
Show More

Origin of superintendent

1545–55; < Medieval Latin superintendent- (stem of superintendēns), present participle of superintendere to superintend; see -ent
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for superintendent

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • That evening, the lawyer called at the house of the superintendent.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • "I suppose you want to be taken back," said the superintendent, abruptly.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • I wish my father had intrusted his money to you instead of to the superintendent.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • The superintendent would have refused an interview but for one consideration.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • "I think I will," said the superintendent, helping himself to a fresh slice of toast.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger


British Dictionary definitions for superintendent

superintendent

noun
  1. a person who directs and manages an organization, office, etc
  2. (in Britain) a senior police officer higher in rank than an inspector but lower than a chief superintendent
  3. (in the US) the head of a police department
  4. mainly US and Canadian a caretaker, esp of a block of apartments
Show More
adjective
  1. of or relating to supervision; superintending
Show More

Word Origin

C16: from Church Latin superintendens overseeing
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

Word Origin and History for superintendent

n.

1550s, originally an ecclesiastical word meaning "bishop" or "minister who supervises churches within a district" (a loan-translation of Greek episkopos "overseer"), from Medieval Latin superintendentem (nominative superintendens), from present participle of Late Latin superintendere "oversee," from Latin super "above" (see super-) + intendere "turn one's attention, direct" (see intend). Famously used by 16c. radical Protestants in place of bishop, which was to them tainted by Papacy.

[Martinists] studie to pull downe Bishopps, and set vp Superintendents, which is nothing else, but to raze out good Greeke, & enterline bad Latine. [Lyly, "Pappe with an Hatchet," 1589]

The general sense of "a person who has charge of some business" is first recorded 1580s. Meaning "janitor, custodian" is from c.1935. Shortened form super first attested 1857, especially at first of overseers of sheep ranches in Australia.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper