\ 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
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

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

The Campana x Kaws chair, which was shown at this year’s Design Miami, is a collaboration between Brazilian designers Fernando and Humberto Campana and Brooklyn pop artist KAWS. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "This Is the Crazy Stuffed Animal Chair on Kylie Jenner’s Instagram," 9 Jan. 2019 Black’s son being involved may help explain certain aspects of the video, including references to multiple inside jokes PewDiePie fans would understand (such as the chair Black is sitting on). Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Jack Black is launching a new YouTube channel mostly dedicated to gaming," 26 Dec. 2018 Winnie Harlow shared her excitement from the makeup chair. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Best Instagrams from the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show," 9 Nov. 2018 The chair umpire who climbed out of his seat to talk with Nick Kyrgios during a U.S. Open match has been suspended for two tournaments by the ATP. Howard Fendrich, The Seattle Times, "US Open umpire who spoke to Kyrgios gets 2-tournament ban," 18 Sep. 2018 First, a warning because chair umpire Carlos Ramos believed coach Patrick Mouratoglou was in violation of secretly coaching Williams. Candice Benbow, Glamour, "At the U.S. Open, Serena Williams Demanded the Apology All Black Women Deserve," 10 Sep. 2018 As noted by BuzzFeed News, chair umpire Carlos Ramos alleged that Serena was receiving coaching during the game. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Naomi Osaka Wins Her First Grand Slam Title," 9 Sep. 2018 That left organizers no choice but to call it a night, although the announcement from the chair umpire led to a scattering of boos from some fans who clearly wanted more. Mattias Karen,, "Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal to finish their Wimbledon semifinal Saturday," 13 July 2018 At the blockbuster plenary sessions, the chairs stretched so far back that even the most youthful Silicon Valley college dropouts-turned VC hoovers had to squint to see the action up in front. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "Home From the Honeymoon, the Self-Driving Car Industry Faces Reality," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The commission is chaired by former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Stephen Wade, The Seattle Times, "Olympic ‘kingmaker’ Sheikh Ahmad leaves to handle court case," 28 Nov. 2018 The new strategic-review committee will be chaired by Mr. Fribourg, and will include the two new directors, as well as three members who already serve on Bunge’s board. Kimberly Chin, WSJ, "Bunge CEO Says New Board Committee to Consider All Options to Boost Value," 31 Oct. 2018 The action was announced late Thursday by the National Council of Security, which is chaired by President Pierre Nkurunziza. Fox News, "Burundi suspends non-governmental groups for 3 months," 28 Sep. 2018 The committee that authored the report was co-chaired by Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University, and Michael McRobbie, president of Indiana University. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Experts warn against voting online, call for paper ballots instead," 7 Sep. 2018 Campaign finance reports show Pritzker gave $1 million to the Democratic Majority fund, which is chaired by House Speaker Michael Madigan and is used to assist Democratic House members and candidates. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Morning Spin: McCarthy says Dan Ryan protest shows change since 2012 NATO summit," 9 July 2018 Maxine Waters and Nydia Velázquez are poised to chair the Financial Services and Small Business committees, respectively. Li Zhou, Vox, "This year’s elections are changing Congress for the better," 6 Dec. 2018 In addition to his keynote speech, Trump is to chair a meeting of the U.N. Security Council about nuclear proliferation on Wednesday. Jonathan Lemire And Zeke Miller, Fox News, "Trump challenges UN, boasting of America's go-it-alone might," 25 Sep. 2018 In January, Maxine Waters, your archnemesis, is poised to chair the House’s Financial Services Committee. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "10 Good Things That Came Out of the Midterm Elections," 7 Nov. 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

14 Jan 2019

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

More from Merriam-Webster on chair

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chair

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chair

Spanish Central: Translation of chair

Nglish: Translation of chair for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chair for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about chair

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).


a complex dispute or argument

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
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!