Definition: President

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From Old French president, from Latin praesidēns (“presiding over; president, leader”) (accusative: praesidentem). The Latin word is the substantivized present active participle of the verb praesideō (“preside over”). The verb is composed from prae (“before”) and sedeō (“sit”). The original meaning of the verb is 'to sit before' in the sense of presiding at a meeting. A secondary meaning of the verb is 'to command, to govern'. So praesidēns means 'the presiding one on a meeting' or 'governor, commander'.


president (plural presidents)

  1. The head of state of a republic
    The majority of presidents have been male.
  2. In presidential republics, the head of government and head of state.
  3. The primary leader of a corporation. Not to be confused with CEO, which is a related but separate position that is sometimes held by a different person.
  4. A person presiding over a meeting; a chair, presiding officer.

Derived terms

  • ex-president
  • president-elect
  • presidential
  • vice president


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