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

Other Words from comptroller

comptrollership \ kən-​ˈtrō-​lər-​ˌship How to pronounce comptroller (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 The race for comptroller was the closest among the statewide races, but still featured a large lead for the Democratic candidate. Erin Cox, Washington Post, 19 Sep. 2022 The pensions didn’t file a shareholder proposal with Visa because the deadline for resolutions passed, according to a spokeswoman for the comptroller. Martin Z. Braun, Fortune, 31 Aug. 2022 The Republican candidate for comptroller, financial services executive Mary Fay of West Hartford, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Keith M. Phaneuf, Hartford Courant, 24 Aug. 2022 The comptroller's office had previously denied bias in the decision to oversee the town's finances. Justin Gamble, CNN, 6 May 2022 Hobbs had been serving as acting comptroller since March. Sherry Greenfield, Baltimore Sun, 20 Aug. 2022 Franchot, who has served as comptroller since 2007 and has the most name recognition statewide, remained at the top of the heap. Ovetta Wiggins, Washington Post, 3 July 2022 Still, within weeks, Mr. Migdol began steering a series of fraudulent donations to the comptroller campaign. New York Times, 12 Apr. 2022 State legislators are prohibited, by law, from accepting an appointment to fill the remaining term of a constitutional office such as the comptroller’s. Keith M. Phaneuf,, 6 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

22 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Comptroller.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for comptroller


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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