cen·​tral | \ ˈsen-trəl How to pronounce central (audio) \

Definition of central

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : containing or constituting a center
2 : of primary importance : essential, principal the central character of the novel
3a : situated at, in, or near the center the central part of the state
b : easily accessible from outlying districts a central location for the new theater
4a : centrally placed and superseding separate scattered units central heating
b : controlling or directing local or branch activities the central committee
5 : holding to a middle between extremes : moderate
6 : of, relating to, or comprising the brain and spinal cord also : originating within the central nervous system central deafness



Definition of central (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a telephone exchange or operator
2 : a central office or bureau usually controlling others weather central
3 : a center or hub for a specified activity or group her house is party central the family room becomes kid central

Other Words from central


centrally \ ˈsen-​trə-​lē How to pronounce central (audio) \ adverb

Examples of central in a Sentence

Adjective The house has four rooms and a central chimney. City planners are looking for a central location for the new hospital. The evidence was central to the defense's case. The country's schools are financed by both local and central governments. The central authority of the company's board is being challenged. Noun Our family room becomes kid central on weekends. a health club that has become dating central for singles in the area See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective That is because central banks from the U.S. to India and New Zealand plan to keep raising interest rates to try to rein in inflation. Akane Otani, WSJ, 30 June 2022 The Federal Reserve and other central banks have been aggressively raising interest rates to try and slow economic growth in order to cool inflation. Alex Viega, BostonGlobe.com, 30 June 2022 This reflects the outsized role of government and central banks in our economy. Alex Tapscott, Fortune, 28 June 2022 Such innovations have been developed, at least in part, to remove the involvement of traditional frameworks like court systems, real estate agencies and central banks from a wide variety of transactions. Bryan Pietsch, Washington Post, 28 June 2022 That's forced central banks to more aggressively withdraw support for the economy, generating angst on Wall Street. Julia Horowitz, CNN, 28 June 2022 Rising inflation raises possibility of recession Stubborn inflation pressures have driven a stark shift in policy from central banks, which are raising rates to try and temper inflation after years of holding rates down to help economic growth. Damian J. Troise And Alex Veiga, USA TODAY, 28 June 2022 The numerous tests and pilots underway involving a digital format of the euro have taken place within regulatory compliant conditions, in close collaboration with central banks, legislators, and policymakers. Diana Barrero Zalles, Forbes, 28 June 2022 Since gold is widely held in reserve by central banks around the world, Russia had a ready market. Patricia Cohen, New York Times, 27 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Most models put the strong winds in the central to southern part of the Willamette Valley. oregonlive, 27 May 2022 In 1986 Dakine had moved to windsurfing-central in Hood River, Ore., and begun years of expansion into bike and snow sports, apparel and more. Valerie Stivers, WSJ, 10 May 2022 Reactions to their antics are part of the massive PR machination central to their relevancy and economic status. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Apr. 2022 The designation ensures independent federal oversight of cleanup of some 262 acres of Bradford Island, the central of three islands in the Columbia comprising the hydroelectric dam near Cascade Locks. oregonlive, 17 Mar. 2022 Indiana was on the second night of a back-to-back after winning at San Antonio on Saturday night and lost two hours of recovery time due to switching from the central to eastern time zone and daylight savings. James Boyd, The Indianapolis Star, 14 Mar. 2022 Below normal precipitation - central to southern Rockies, Great Plains, Florida, and the Southwest (first three months). Marshall Shepherd, Forbes, 19 Oct. 2021 Even a persona as dazzling as Lil Nas X makes biographical show-and-tell central. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 29 Sep. 2021 Former President Barack Obama made Youngkin's integrity and his ties to the Trump base of the Republican Party central to his rebuke of the Republican, questioning a disconnect between his public and private personas. Dan Merica, CNN, 30 Oct. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'central.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of central


1623, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1883, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for central


borrowed from Latin centrālis, from centrum center entry 1 + -ālis -al entry 1


derivative of central entry 1

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Time Traveler for central

Time Traveler

The first known use of central was in 1623

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Dictionary Entries Near central



Central African

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Statistics for central

Last Updated

3 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Central.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/central. Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for central


cen·​tral | \ ˈsen-trəl How to pronounce central (audio) \

Kids Definition of central

1 : located or placed at, in, or near the center central Australia
2 : most important : chief The central character of the story is an orphan.

Other Words from central

centrally adverb


cen·​tral | \ ˈsen-trəl How to pronounce central (audio) \

Medical Definition of central

1 : of or concerning the centrum of a vertebra
2a : of, relating to, or comprising the brain and spinal cord
b : originating within the central nervous system : caused by factors originating in the central nervous system central precocious puberty
3 : affecting or involving the trunk of the body and especially the abdomen central adiposity

Other Words from central

centrally \ -​trə-​lē How to pronounce central (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on central

Nglish: Translation of central for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of central for Arabic Speakers


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