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From chair +‎ -man.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈtʃɛːmən/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈtʃɛɹ.mən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛːmən


chairman (plural chairmen)

  1. A person presiding over a meeting.
  2. The head of a corporate or governmental board of directors, a committee, or other formal entity.
    • 2003, William L. Taylor, Wake Island : the Alamo of the Pacific, History Channel, →OCLC:
      When I got ready to leave, why, Chairman Mao came down to the plane. Chairman Mao gave me some Chinese rugs and told me that I was the only prisoner of war that had ever come through there from North China.
    • 2023 March 8, David Clough, “The long road that led to Beeching”, in RAIL, number 978, page 43:
      Unsurprisingly, the Group was highly critical of the BTC's organisation and finances, and this prompted Marples to bring forward the Transport Act 1962, which created BR as a standalone entity with its own Board, headed by a full-time chairman. Beeching accepted this latter position, and initially became the BTC chairman in June 1961.
  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, published 1973, page 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 this term denoted a man, but it is now also used for women. Other gender-neutral terms could be chairperson or just chair.


Coordinate terms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]



chairman (third-person singular simple present chairmans, present participle chairmaning or chairmanning, simple past and past participle chairmaned or chairmanned)

  1. To serve as chairman.