chan·​cel·​lor | \ˈchan(t)-s(ə-)lər \

Definition of chancellor 

1a : the secretary of a nobleman, prince, or king

b : the lord chancellor of Great Britain

c British : the chief secretary of an embassy

d : a Roman Catholic priest heading the office in which diocesan business is transacted and recorded

2a : the titular head of a British university

b(1) : a university president

(2) : the chief executive officer in some state systems of higher education

3a : a lay legal officer or adviser of an Anglican diocese

b : a judge in a court of chancery or equity in various states of the U.S.

4 : the chief minister of state in some European countries

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Other Words from chancellor

chancellorship \ -​ˌship \ noun

Examples of chancellor in a Sentence

the new chancellor of the university

Recent Examples on the Web

Blanshard sent his findings to Albert J. Roman, the district’s vice chancellor of human resources, in December. Rosanna Xia,, "L.A. Trade-Tech administrators received $157,000 for work they failed to justify, investigation finds," 8 July 2018 George Osborne, the chancellor in 2010-16, reduced the amount that claimants had to earn before their benefits were withdrawn. The Economist, "Britain’s switch to a “universal credit” is not going well," 31 May 2018 Sandeen will start as UAA chancellor Sept. 15, a few weeks after fall classes begin. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "New chancellor announced for University of Alaska Anchorage," 31 May 2018 President Donald Trump will meet with both the French president and German chancellor this week in Washington as a deadline looms for deciding whether the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. Laura King, The Seattle Times, "Macron, Merkel to press Trump to save nuke deal with Iran," 22 Apr. 2018 Almost 60 percent of those surveyed back joining the chancellor in government again, up from 47 percent in January., "German Coalition Talks Enter the Endgame," 2 Feb. 2018 Heinz-Christian Strache, Austria's vice chancellor and leader of the Freedom Party, is an opponent of sanctions, which were imposed by the European Union and the US over Russia's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in 2014. Nathan Hodge, CNN, "Putin says he wants to build bridges with Europe. Others see a wedge," 5 June 2018 Tolstoy is chancellor of the International Monarchist League, a group that is, to put it gently, loosely organized. Michael Joseph Gross, Vanities, "“There’s Nothing Wrong with Falling from Grace”: The Global Network of Monarchists Helping Deposed Kings and Queens," 27 Apr. 2018 Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is a top executive at the Russian government controlled company that runs the pipeline. Fox News, "Meadows, Dershowitz react after Lisa Page defies subpoena," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chancellor.' 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 chancellor

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for chancellor

Middle English chanceler, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin cancellarius doorkeeper, secretary, from cancellus

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Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

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The first known use of chancellor was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of chancellor

: the highest government official in Germany and Austria

: the head of some U.S. universities

: the head of a British university who represents the school but who does not have many responsibilities


chan·​cel·​lor | \ˈchan-sə-lər, ˈchan-slər\

Kids Definition of chancellor

1 : a high government official (as in Germany)

2 : the head of a university


chan·​cel·​lor | \ˈchan-sə-lər \

Legal Definition of chancellor 

1 : the head of a chancery: as

a : the Lord Chancellor of Great Britain

b : a judge in a court of equity in various states

2a : a university president

b : the chief executive officer in some state systems of higher education

3 : the chief minister of state in some European countries (as Germany)

History and Etymology for chancellor

Old French chancelier royal secretary, from Late Latin cancellarius doorkeeper, clerk, from Latin cancellus latticework barrier

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