precentor was our Word of the Day on 11/10/2010. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
The history of "precentor" leads to the Latin verb praecinere, meaning "to lead in singing," which was formed by adding the "prae-" prefix to the verb "canere" ("to sing"). "Canere" is also an ancestor of the English word chant, as well as the source of the Latin noun cantor, which was also borrowed into English and is used both as a synonym of "precentor" and for an individual in a synagogue who sings or chants the liturgical music and leads the congregation in prayer.
Origin and Etymology of precentor
Latin praecentor, from praecinere to lead in singing, from prae- + canere to sing — more at chant
First Known Use: 1516
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