[ chair-muh n ]
/ ˈtʃɛər mən /

noun, plural chair·men.

the presiding officer of a meeting, committee, board, etc.
the administrative head of a department in a high school, college, or university.
someone employed to carry or wheel a person in a chair.

verb (used with object), chair·maned or chair·manned, chair·man·ing or chair·man·ning.

to act as or be chairman of (a meeting, committee, etc.).

Nearby words

  1. chair warmer,
  2. chairborne,
  3. chairbound,
  4. chairlady,
  5. chairlift,
  6. chairman of the board,
  7. chairmanship,
  8. chairperson,
  9. chairwoman,
  10. chais

Origin of chairman

First recorded in 1645–55; chair + -man

Can be confusedchair chairman chairperson chairwoman (see usage note at chairperson)

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

Examples from the Web for chairman

British Dictionary definitions for chairman


/ (ˈtʃɛəmən) /

noun plural -men

Also called: chairperson, (fem) chairwoman a person who presides over a company's board of directors, a committee, a debate, an administrative department, etc
history someone who carries a sedan chair
Derived Formschairmanship, noun


Chairman can seem inappropriate when applied to a woman, while chairwoman can be offensive. Chair and chairperson can be applied to either a man or a woman; chair is generally preferred to chairperson

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 chairman



1650s, "occupier of a chair of authority," from chair (n.) + man (n.). Meaning "member of a corporate body chosen to preside at meetings" is from c.1730. Chairwoman in this sense first attested 1752; chairperson 1971.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper