comp·​trol·​ler | \ kən-ˈtrō-lər How to pronounce comptroller (audio) , ˈkäm(p)-ˌtrō-, käm(p)-ˈtrō- How to pronounce comptroller (audio) \

Definition of comptroller

1 : a royal-household official who examines and supervises expenditures
2 : a public official who audits government accounts and sometimes certifies expenditures

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Other Words from comptroller

comptrollership \ kən-​ˈtrō-​lər-​ˌship How to pronounce comptrollership (audio) , ˈkäm(p)-​ˌtrō-​ , käm(p)-​ˈtrō-​ \ noun

Did You Know?

If you think "comptroller" looks like a mistaken spelling of "controller," you're partially right. Today, "comptroller" is an established word that shares one of its meanings (sense 3) with "controller." The term did originate as a misspelling, however. Around the 15th century, Middle English speakers altered the spelling of "conterroller" (meaning "controller," from the Middle French contrerolleur) under the influence of the Middle French word compte ("account"). The resulting word, "comptroller," has attracted criticism over the years. Grammarian Henry Fowler condemned "comptroller" as "not merely archaic, but erroneous" in 1920, and a lexicographical column from 1931 agreed that "comptroller" is "erroneous and should not be accepted as correct." Nevertheless, such modern institutions as colleges and governments continue to have comptrollers. "Comptrollership" occasionally turns up as well.

Examples of comptroller in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Polovin was paid $189,000 in 2019, according to the state comptroller’s office database. Christy Gutowski,, "Two former DCFS staff members in AJ Freund case arrested, charged with child endangerment," 11 Sep. 2020 In emails to the school district’s comptroller, Lockard posed as a representative of the bank to which the district makes its bond payments, according to the indictment. Krista Torralva,, "Not guilty plea entered in $2 million South Texas school district swindle," 28 Aug. 2020 State agencies were asked over the summer to send budgets with significant cuts and the state comptroller released his budget estimates in July, which had a $4.59 billion shortfall. Paul Wedding, Houston Chronicle, "Tomball Chamber meets to talk upcoming legislative session," 2 Sep. 2020 The comptroller’s office was already under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, which has declined to comment on an open matter. Talia Richman,, "Departing employees, including 2 who’ve faced scrutiny, outpace Baltimore police officers as city’s top earners," 31 Aug. 2020 McGrath’s salary as Hogan’s chief of staff is $233,000, according to Susan O’Brien, a spokeswoman for the comptroller’s office, which processes the state’s payroll. Jeff Barker,, "Ferguson, Jones ask legislative committee to investigate severance for agency leader leaving to head Hogan’s staff," 14 Aug. 2020 Next year, the comptroller estimates the deals will cost the state $860 million, and in 2022, just shy of $1 billion. Diego Mendoza-moyers,, "Tax-break program to cost Texas $1 billion a year by 2022. Tesla soon will be a beneficiary," 12 Aug. 2020 Fields, who ran unsuccessfully for Milwaukee comptroller in April, is not seeking reelection to the Assembly. Allison Garfield, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Four Democrats face off in August primary for Rep'. Jason Fields' Assembly seat," 3 Aug. 2020 Toyota paid Southwest ISD a $2 million supplemental payment in 2007, according to records filed with the comptroller’s office. Diego Mendoza-moyers,, "Tax-break program to cost Texas $1 billion a year by 2022. Tesla soon will be a beneficiary," 12 Aug. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for comptroller

Middle English, alteration of countreroller controller

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Time Traveler for comptroller

Time Traveler

The first known use of comptroller was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

21 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Comptroller.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for comptroller


How to pronounce comptroller (audio) How to pronounce comptroller (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of comptroller

: a person who is in charge of the financial accounts of a company or organization


comp·​trol·​ler | \ kən-ˈtrō-lər, ˈkämp-ˌtrō- How to pronounce comptroller (audio) \

Legal Definition of comptroller

: the head accounting officer of a company or government

More from Merriam-Webster on comptroller

Nglish: Translation of comptroller for Spanish Speakers

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