- first or highest in rank, importance, value, etc.; chief; foremost.
- of, of the nature of, or constituting principal or capital: a principal investment.
- Geometry. (of an axis of a conic) passing through the foci.
- a chief or head.
- the head or director of a school or, especially in England, a college.
- a person who takes a leading part in any activity, as a play; chief actor or doer.
- the first player of a division of instruments in an orchestra (excepting the leader of the first violins).
- something of principal or chief importance.
- a person who authorizes another, as an agent, to represent him or her.
- a person directly responsible for a crime, either as an actual perpetrator or as an abettor present at its commission.Compare accessory(def 3).
- a person primarily liable for an obligation, in contrast with an endorser, or the like.
- the main body of an estate, or the like, as distinguished from income.
- Finance. a capital sum, as distinguished from interest or profit.
- an organ stop.
- the subject of a fugue.
- (in a framed structure) a member, as a truss, upon which adjacent or similar members depend for support or reinforcement.
- each of the combatants in a duel, as distinguished from the seconds.
Origin of principal
Synonyms for principal
Antonyms for principal
Examples from the Web for principalship
Historical Examples of principalship
Dr. Halley from age and infirmities, retired from the principalship.Recollections of a Long Life
His wife, the mother of two boys, secured a position in the public schools and by her ability, won her way to a principalship.
In 1885 he retired, full of years and honours, from the principalship of the college he had so long served and adorned.
Four years of his principalship were successful beyond expectation.
- first in importance, rank, value, etc; chief
- denoting or relating to capital or property as opposed to interest, etc
- a person who is first in importance or directs some event, action, organization, etc
- (in Britain) a civil servant of an executive grade who is in charge of a section
- a person who engages another to act as his agent
- an active participant in a crime
- the person primarily liable to fulfil an obligation
- the head of a school or other educational institution
- (in Scottish schools) a head of department
- capital or property, as contrasted with the income derived from it
- the original amount of a debt on which interest is calculated
- a main roof truss or rafter
- the chief instrumentalist in a section of the orchestra
- one of the singers in an opera company
- either of two types of open diapason organ stops, one of four-foot length and pitch and the other of eight-foot length and pitch
- the leading performer in a play
Word Origin for principal
c.1300, "main, principal, chief, dominant, most important;" also "great, large," from Old French principal "main, most important," of persons, "princely, high-ranking" (11c.), from Latin principalis "first in importance; original, primitive," from princeps (see prince).
c.1300, "ruler, governor;" also "main part;" from principal (adj.) or from or influenced by noun uses in Old French and Latin. From mid-14c. in the sense of "money on which interest is paid;" 1827 as "person in charge of a public school," though meaning "head of a college or hall" was in English from mid-15c.
The original amount of money lent, not including profits and interest.