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 Assembly District 11: Democratic incumbent Jason Fields, who was elected Milwaukee city comptroller in April, is not running for reelection and there is a four-way primary to replace him. Oren Oppenheim, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Voter guide: What you should know for the Aug. 11 primary elections in Wisconsin," 31 July 2020 The police oversight commission James proposed would redirect power from the department’s commissioner to a new board with representatives appointed by the City Council, public advocate, comptroller and mayor. Washington Post, "New oversight committee would restore faith in NYPD, AG says," 8 July 2020 The attacks which brought down the World Trade Centre in 2001 were estimated by the city’s comptroller to have cost $83bn-95bn in lives and property. The Economist, "Centres of excellence Covid-19 challenges New York’s future," 11 June 2020 Spare a moment to imagine the difficulty for the comptroller of signing this next BRE. Michael Taylor,, "Taylor: What has the coronavirus pandemic done to the bottom line for State of Texas Inc.?," 7 July 2020 The city's comptroller, Scott Stringer, called for $1.1 billion to be cut from the New York City Police Department budget over four years. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "'Occupy City Hall' protesters camp out to demand New York City slash police budget," 28 June 2020 For this project that would equate to an annual salary of $74,050, according to documents filed with the comptroller’s office. Dallas News, "To lure Tesla, a Travis County ISD could grant $68 million in property tax breaks," 18 June 2020 Dake began working at the company in 2012 and was a comptroller and office manager. Crystal Hill, The Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis woman who stole $500K from employer sentenced to prison, officials say," 27 June 2020 Investors, including the comptroller stewarding New York City’s pension funds, have pushed this mandate at several companies. Rob Copeland, WSJ, "Race and Policing: Continuing Coverage," 26 June 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

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

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Last Updated

4 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Comptroller.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Aug. 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on comptroller

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with comptroller

Spanish Central: Translation of comptroller

Nglish: Translation of comptroller for Spanish Speakers

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