chairman

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From chair +‎ -man

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

chairman (plural chairmen)

  1. A person (implied male) presiding over a meeting.
  2. The head of a corporate or governmental board of directors, a committee, or other formal entity.
  3. (historical) Someone whose job is to carry people in a portable chair, sedan chair, or similar conveyance.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, Folio Society 1973, p. 618:
      Mr Western entered; but not before a small wrangling bout had passed between him and his chairmen; for the fellows, who had taken up their burden at the Hercules Pillars, had conceived no hopes of having any future good customer in the squire [...]
    • 1836, Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers
      Mr. Winkle, catching sight of a lady's face at the window of the sedan, turned hastily round, plied the knocker with all his might and main, and called frantically upon the chairman to take the chair away again.

Usage notes[edit]

Historically meant a man, now often used to refer to chairwomen as well.

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