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  1. theorizing without the benefit of practical experience: an armchair football coach.
  2. participating or experiencing indirectly or vicariously: an armchair traveler.

Origin of armchair

First recorded in 1625–35; arm1 + chair Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of armchair

British Dictionary definitions for armchair


  1. a chair, esp an upholstered one, that has side supports for the arms or elbows
  2. (modifier) taking no active part; lacking practical experience; theoreticalan armchair strategist
  3. (modifier) participated in away from the place of action or in the homearmchair theatre
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 armchair

also arm-chair, 1630s, from arm (n.1) + chair; adjective sense in reference to "criticism of matters in which the critic takes no active part" is from 1886.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper