\ˈcher \

Definition of chair 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a seat typically having four legs and a back for one person

b : electric chair used with the

2a : an official seat or a seat of authority, state, or dignity

b : an office or position of authority or dignity

c : professorship holds a university chair

d : chairman sense 1

3 : a sedan chair

4 : a position of employment usually of one occupying a chair or desk specifically : the position of a player in an orchestra or band

5 : any of various devices that hold up or support


chaired; chairing; chairs

Definition of chair (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to install in office

2 chiefly British : to carry on the shoulders in acclaim we chaired you through the market place— A. E. Housman

3 : to preside as chairman of

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for chair

Synonyms: Noun

driver's seat, head, headship, helm, rein(s)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of chair in a Sentence


a chair by the window We'll need a table and four chairs for the dining room. He is now chair of the English department. She's chair of the school board this year. Address any questions to the committee chair. a murderer who was sentenced to the chair


He's been chosen to chair the task force on school violence.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Jennifer Bartiss-Earley, chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission, said. Bill Leukhardt, Courant Community, "Plainville Asks Residents For Ideas On Updating Master Plan Of Devopment," 14 July 2018 Leonard James III, chair of the NAACP Image Awards committee, said last year that a long record of fighting for civil rights is behind the significant African-American gains. Lynn Elber,, "Emmy diversity gets a boost from Ricky Martin, Issa Rae," 13 July 2018 Before that, Hirshland worked with Casey Wasserman, the chair of the LA 2028 Olympic effort, at Wasserman Media Group., "US Olympic Committee tabs Sarah Hirshland as its CEO," 13 July 2018 Beverly Duncan, co-chair of the affordable housing committee of Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together, questions whether the level of public investment in the arena is commensurate with all the needs for taxpayer funding. Allison Ross, The Courier-Journal, "The KFC Yum Center was built to spur a downtown boom. Did it work?," 12 July 2018 Selzer refused to answer a question from moderator Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union, about which taxes were the best way to fund government: Income, sales or property. Bryan Lowry, kansascity, "Kobach and Colyer trade barbs — and boos— at heated Johnson County GOP debate," 12 July 2018 Before Boutary can get his taxi license back, the chair of the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings must accept the judge’s recommendation. NBC News, "Judge says Uber driver who booted lesbian couple should get license back," 11 July 2018 Professor Andres Kasekamp, chair of Estonian Studies at the University of Toronto and a security policy expert on the Baltic countries, told The Associated Press. Lorne Cook, The Seattle Times, "EU official criticizes Trump over attitude toward allies," 10 July 2018 Enter Jonathan Middleton, chair of the Department of Music and professor of theory and composition at Eastern Washington University. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, "Symphony of the salmon: How scientists are learning by putting fish migration to music," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is chairing a meeting of the British government's COBRA emergency committee on Thursday morning. Matt Dunham And Gregory Katz,, "2nd nerve agent poisoning likely not deliberate, British police say," 5 July 2018 For Carol Weber, who is chairing the anniversary event, the celebration is a chance to show where the club has been. Kathleen Mcwilliams, Courant Community, "New England's Oldest Cultural German Organization Celebrates 160 Years," 8 June 2018 Dujovne, whose country is chairing the G-20 this year, met with reporters Friday to summarize talks held as a prelude to the IMF-World Bank meetings. Paul Wiseman,, "US calls on IMF to do more to address unfair trade practices," 21 Apr. 2018 May is chairing a National Security Council meeting to hear the latest evidence and is expected to update British lawmakers Monday around 4:30 p.m. local time. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Ex-Russian spy poisoning looks to be 'state-sponsored,' UK lawmaker says," 12 Mar. 2018 The conference is sponsored by a grant from the Ohio Attorney General's office and is being chaired by Cleveland's Yvonne Pointer, formerly with the city's Community Relations Board. Plain Dealer Staff,, "Surviving the Storm: March women's conference will focus on healing after violence," 19 Feb. 2018 The news comes as part of a larger change in the pageant’s standards, explained former FOX News anchor Gretchen Carlson, who chairs the Miss America Organization’s board of trustees and was herself crowned Miss America in 1989. Time, "Why the End of Miss America's Swimsuit Competition Is a Big Deal, According to Pageant History Experts," 7 June 2018 The advisory board is co-chaired by Yormark and Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett. Dave Brooks, Billboard, "Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment Rebrands to BSE Global," 7 June 2018 The jury committee is chaired by Henry Louis Gates Jr., who directs the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Christopher Johnston, The Christian Science Monitor, "Cleveland uses literature to empower youth, overcome social divides," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chair.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of chair


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for chair


Middle English chaiere, from Anglo-French, from Latin cathedra, from Greek kathedra, from kata- cata- + hedra seat — more at sit

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chair

Statistics for chair

Last Updated

4 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chair

The first known use of chair was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for chair



English Language Learners Definition of chair

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a seat for one person that has a back and usually four legs

: the person who is the leader of a department at a college or university

: the person who is the leader of a meeting, organization, committee, or event



English Language Learners Definition of chair (Entry 2 of 2)

: to be in charge of a meeting, organization, committee, or event : to be the chairperson of (something)


\ˈcher \

Kids Definition of chair

1 : a seat for one person usually having a back and four legs

2 : a person who leads a meeting, group, or event

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on chair

What made you want to look up chair? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!