• synonyms


[chair-muh n]
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 chairmen

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

Examples from the Web for chairmen

Contemporary Examples of chairmen

Historical Examples of chairmen

British Dictionary definitions for chairmen


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 chairmen



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