[ chair-pur-suhn ]
See synonyms for chairperson on
  1. a person who presides over a meeting, committee, board, etc.

  2. the administrative head of a department in a high school, college, or university.

Origin of chairperson

First recorded in 1970–75; chair(man) + -person

usage note For chairperson

Chairperson has, since the 1960s, come to be used widely as an alternative to either chairman or chairwoman. This change was motivated largely by a desire to avoid chairman, which was felt to be inappropriate and even sexually discriminatory when applied to a woman. Chairperson is standard in all varieties of speech and writing.
Despite such widespread acceptance, some organizations and publications do not use chairperson at all, usually on the grounds that it is awkward and that chairman is a well-established generic term. Many style guides advocate use of the term chair to designate the presiding officer, thus avoiding charges of both sexism and awkwardness: Jim will be chair of the entertainment committee this year, and Jane will be chair next year. See also -man, -person, -woman.

Other words from chairperson

  • chair·per·son·ship, noun

Words that may be confused with chairperson

Words Nearby chairperson Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use chairperson in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for chairperson


/ (ˈtʃɛəˌpɜːsən) /

  1. another word for chairman (def. 1)


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