[chan-suh-ler, -sler, chahn-]
See more synonyms for chancellor on
  1. the chief minister of state in certain parliamentary governments, as in Germany; prime minister; premier.
  2. the chief administrative officer in certain American universities.
  3. a secretary, as to a king or noble or of an embassy.
  4. the priest in charge of a Roman Catholic chancery.
  5. the title of various important judges and other high officials.
  6. (in some states of the U.S.) the judge of a court of equity or chancery.
  7. British. the honorary, nonresident, titular head of a university.

Origin of chancellor

before 1100; Middle English chanceler < Anglo-French < Late Latin cancellārius doorkeeper, literally, man at the barrier (see chancel, -er2); replacing Middle English canceler, Old EnglishLate Latin, as above
Related formsun·der·chan·cel·lor, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chancellor

Contemporary Examples of chancellor

Historical Examples of chancellor

British Dictionary definitions for chancellor


  1. the head of the government in several European countries
  2. US the president of a university or, in some colleges, the chief administrative officer
  3. British and Canadian the honorary head of a universityCompare vice chancellor (def. 1)
  4. US (in some states) the presiding judge of a court of chancery or equity
  5. British the chief secretary of an embassy
  6. Christianity a clergyman acting as the law officer of a bishop
  7. archaic the chief secretary of a prince, nobleman, etc
Derived Formschancellorship, noun

Word Origin for chancellor

C11: from Anglo-French chanceler, from Late Latin cancellārius porter, secretary, from Latin cancellī lattice; see chancel
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 chancellor

early 12c., from Old French chancelier (12c.), from Late Latin cancellarius "keeper of the barrier, secretary, usher of a law court," so called because he worked behind a lattice (Latin cancellus) at a basilica or law court (see chancel). In the Roman Empire, a sort of court usher; the post gradually gained importance in the Western kingdoms. A variant form, canceler, existed in Old English, from Old North French, but was replaced by this central French form.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper