\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

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Synonyms for chair

Synonyms: Noun

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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Take along a sandwich to eat from your beach chair. Kathleen Purvis, charlotteobserver, "The best thing to eat at Wrightsville Beach (and the best food to bring back with you)," 12 July 2018 Those attending the band’s Whiting show can relax on their own chairs and blankets. Bob Kostanczuk, Post-Tribune, "Latin Satin Soul performs at free Whiting concert series," 12 July 2018 Others sprang from their chairs at moments of apparent intrigue. Dugan Arnett,, "What happened when a soccer skeptic sat through a World Cup match," 11 July 2018 Zárate, 70, a retired former principal of Hull Elementary School in the Northside Independent School District, has served on the Alamo Colleges board for 15 years and is chair of its audit, budget and finance committee. Alia Malik, San Antonio Express-News, "Challenger halts Alamo Colleges runoff recount," 11 July 2018 At his parole hearing in 2017, Gunin slouched in his chair and squinted uncomfortably at a webcam. Jonathan Small, Good Housekeeping, "A Drunk Driver Destroyed Jennifer Tracy's Family. Now, She Wants to Save Him.," 2 July 2018 International real estate shoppers soon won't need to leave their office chairs. Dylan Jackson, miamiherald, "Miami-California deal is looking to create the only real-estate website you need," 2 July 2018 Jeonghwa more or less curls up into the fetal position in her chair. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Hani of K-Pop Group EXID Reveals Her Simple Routine for Getting Glass Skin," 2 July 2018 Soon enough, Mariah falls off her chair, slumps to the ground, and dies., "What That Disappointing Luke Cage Ending Means For The Future," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 The Women's Leadership committee is chaired by Mandy Kao and Y. Ping Sun, and the programming focuses on women who are making an impact in society and business. Joy Sewing, Houston Chronicle, "Asia Society celebrates women in fashion," 17 June 2018 The board is chaired by Blair Labatt, president and CEO of Labatt Food Service. Deborah Martin, San Antonio Express-News, "Opera San Antonio’s artistic director steps down," 14 June 2018 The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is chaired by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who has committed to working to halt Trump’s tariffs. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "America’s allies should respond to steel tariffs with targeted sanctions on the Trump Organization," 5 June 2018 Co-chairing the gala were HGTV personality Taniya Nayak, a BAC alum who owns her own design firm, and interior designer Eric Roseff. Mark Shanahan,, "Boston Architectural College holds spring fling," 20 Apr. 2018 Aspects of conversion therapy now are more covert or understated, said Leibowitz, who co-chairs a committee on LGBT issues for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Susan Miller, USA TODAY, "'Being LGBTQ is not an illness': Record number of states banning conversion therapy," 17 Apr. 2018 Wagle gathered senators who chair committees in her office ahead of the debate. Jonathan Shorman, kansascity, "Kansas Senate passes school funding plan after GOP leader apologizes | The Kansas City Star," 5 Apr. 2018 Nina Gordon, who was event co-chair for Alexander's 2015 performance and is also co-chairing this year's event, said the congregation is blessed to have his mother as an active member there. Sergio Carmona, Jewish Journal, "Synagogue sponsoring an intimate evening with Jason Alexander," 2 Feb. 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.

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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

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Statistics for chair

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chair

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

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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

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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).


not any or not one

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