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

Synonyms for central

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for centrally

Contemporary Examples of centrally

  • They don't slap height limits on attractive, centrally located neighborhoods.

    The Daily Beast logo
    New York City, NIMBY Paradise

    Megan McArdle

    March 27, 2013

  • Instead, he engages a series of questions that nobody is debating: * Should we have a free market or a centrally planned economy?

    The Daily Beast logo
    David Mamet's Right Turn

    David Frum

    May 9, 2012

  • Swift quickly realized that Massachusetts was centrally involved.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Misogynist Massachusetts

    James Carroll

    January 19, 2010

Historical Examples of centrally

British Dictionary definitions for centrally



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