[ pri-sen-ter ]
/ prɪˈsɛn tər /


a person who leads a church choir or congregation in singing.

Nearby words

  1. precedent,
  2. precedented,
  3. precedential,
  4. preceding,
  5. precent,
  6. precentral area,
  7. precentral cerebellar vein,
  8. precentral gyrus,
  9. precentral sulcus,
  10. precept

Origin of precentor

1605–15; < Late Latin praecentor leader in music, equivalent to Latin praecen-, variant stem of praecinere to lead in singing (prae- pre- + -cinere, combining form of canere to sing; see canto) + -tor -tor

Related formspre·cen·to·ri·al [pree-sen-tawr-ee-uh l, -tohr-] /ˌpri sɛnˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr-/, adjectivepre·cen·tor·ship, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for precentor

British Dictionary definitions for precentor


/ (prɪˈsɛntə) /


a cleric who directs the choral services in a cathedral
a person who leads a congregation or choir in the sung parts of church services
Derived Formsprecentorial (ˌpriːsɛnˈtɔːrɪəl), adjectiveprecentorship, noun

Word Origin for precentor

C17: from Late Latin praecentor leader of the music, from prae before + canere to sing

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 precentor



1610s, from Late Latin praecentor "a leader in singing," from Latin praecantare "to sing before," from prae "before" (see pre-) + canere "to sing" (see chant (v.)). For change of vowel, see biennial.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper