[ pri-sen-ter ]
/ prɪˈsɛn tər /


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

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 forms

pre·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 Forms

precentorial (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