[ sen-truhl ]
/ ˈsɛn trəl /



  1. a main telephone exchange.
  2. a telephone operator at such an exchange.

Origin of central

1640–50; < Latin centrālis, equivalent to centr(um) center + -ālis -al1
Related formscen·tral·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for centrally

British Dictionary definitions for centrally


/ (ˈsɛntrəl) /


in, at, of, from, containing, or forming the centre of somethingthe central street in a city; the central material of a golf ball
main, principal, or chief; most importantthe central cause of a problem
  1. of or relating to the central nervous system
  2. of or relating to the centrum of a vertebra
of, relating to, or denoting a vowel articulated with the tongue held in an intermediate position halfway between the positions for back and front vowels, as for the a of English soda
(of a force) directed from or towards a point
informal (immediately postpositive) used to describe a place where a specified thing, quality, etc is to be found in abundancenostalgia central
Derived Formscentrally, adverb
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 centrally



1640s, from French central or directly from Latin centralis "pertaining to a center," from centrum (see center (n.)). Centrally is attested perhaps as early as early 15c., which might imply a usage of central earlier than the attested date.

Slightly older is centric (1580s). As a U.S. colloquial noun for "central telephone exchange," first recorded 1889 (hence, "Hello, Central?"). Central processing unit attested from 1961. Central America is attested from 1826.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper