• synonyms


[chair-muh n]
See more synonyms for chairman on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural chair·men.
  1. the presiding officer of a meeting, committee, board, etc.
  2. the administrative head of a department in a high school, college, or university.
  3. someone employed to carry or wheel a person in a chair.
Show More
verb (used with object), chair·maned or chair·manned, chair·man·ing or chair·man·ning.
  1. to act as or be chairman of (a meeting, committee, etc.).
Show More

Origin of chairman

First recorded in 1645–55; chair + -man
Can be confusedchair chairman chairperson chairwoman (see usage note at chairperson)

Usage note

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for chairman

spokesman, administrator, chairperson, director, leader, chairwoman, monitor, moderator, speaker, president, chair, captain, principal, toastmaster, introducer, presider, prolocutor

Examples from the Web for chairman

Contemporary Examples of chairman

Historical Examples of chairman

  • The chairman rose to propose the toast of the evening, and was received with cheers.

  • Mr. Randell, the Chairman of the Perth Municipality, read an address of welcome.

  • He was Chairman of this, Trustee of that, President of the other.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • "That is my name," said the chairman of the Malgamite Fund, with his finger in his watch-chain.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • Marsh shouted to the chairman, and the piercing whistle for order was heard.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

British Dictionary definitions for chairman


noun plural -men
  1. Also called: chairperson, (fem) chairwoman a person who presides over a company's board of directors, a committee, a debate, an administrative department, etc
  2. history someone who carries a sedan chair
Show More
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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper