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 In the first open comptroller race in Maryland in 16 years, Baltimore state Del. Brooke Lierman has outraised Bowie Mayor Tim Adams by wide margins and holds a considerable cash advantage heading into the final month of the Democratic primary. Sam Janesch, Baltimore Sun, 15 June 2022 Author and former nonprofit executive Wes Moore directly questioned Franchot’s integrity, accusing the four-term comptroller of accepting donations from 12 people with contracts before the Board of Public Works, on which Franchot sits. Erin Cox, Washington Post, 6 June 2022 Irvin’s campaign previously gave $50,000 to Shannon Teresi of Crystal Lake, who is the slate’s candidate for comptroller to take on Democratic incumbent Susana Mendoza of Chicago. Jeremy Gorner, Chicago Tribune, 22 May 2022 State comptroller records show McClendon retired from state service on July 4, 2002, and collects a monthly pension of $3,040. Globe Staff,, 13 May 2022 The last time the state’s comptroller studied the issue was in 2006. New York Times, 5 May 2022 New York City’s comptroller is the latest public official trying to change laws aimed at limiting risk in pension investments, as U.S. state and local pension funds try to plug shortfalls in a low-return environment. Heather Gillers, WSJ, 26 Apr. 2022 The Lamont administration says his office had nothing to do with the signing of the Sema4 contract, which was negotiated and signed by the Office of the State Comptroller under then-comptroller Kevin Lembo. Christopher Keating, Hartford Courant, 21 Apr. 2022 In November, Migdol President Gerald Migdol was indicted for his alleged part in a scheme to fraudulently assist a comptroller candidate, though authorities did not immediately name Benjamin in connection to the case. Zachary Snowdon Smith, Forbes, 12 Apr. 2022 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

17 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Comptroller.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 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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