Definition of chairman in English:



  • 1A person chosen to preside over a meeting.

    ‘the chairman of the conference’
    • ‘The chairman ended the meeting by wishing all the members a happy New Year.’
    • ‘The chairman's statement is considerate of the diverse interests represented by the leaders in the meeting.’
    • ‘The chairman reported on a meeting with representatives of the bowls club.’
    • ‘The meeting chairman asked each of the speakers to address a specific question.’
    • ‘It is unlikely that you will ever be asked to adopt the role of chairman involving a meeting of your superiors.’
    • ‘The chairman of the Kildwick Parish Meeting was unavailable for comment.’
    • ‘The chairman may decide to adjourn the meeting, which means that the meeting is not concluded.’
    • ‘The chairman closed the meeting and thanked everyone for their attendance.’
    • ‘We sang Jerusalem and then our Secretary introduced our Chairman for the day Sue Mcrae.’
    • ‘The meeting which was very well attended was presided over by the chairman Martin Nyland.’
    • ‘The chairman of the panel of judges is Tom Fewer, local writer and publisher.’
    • ‘Thus, there were very few surprises for her or for the chairman during the meeting.’
    • ‘The meeting was presided over by chairman Brendan McNulty, who welcomed the delegates.’
    • ‘Jedec instructed the chairman of each of the meetings to disclose the patent language to its members, and the court found through testimony that the chairmen did indeed comply with the instructions.’
    • ‘That will be a matter for the chairman of the meeting if I allow one to be convened.’
    1. 1.1The permanent or long-term president of a committee, company, or other organization.
      ‘he was chairman of the finance committee’
      ‘he received an offer to become the company's chairman and chief executive’
      [with modifier] ‘the party chairman’
      • ‘Mark Wright has also been elected as the Chairman of the Board of Directors.’
      • ‘Still, several Senate committee chairmen and leadership members are pressing for Senate action this year.’
      • ‘Saari is also the chairman of the committee organizing the Saturday gathering.’
      • ‘After discussing the idea of establishing a financial services centre in Dublin, he paved the way for meetings with the chairmen of a number of German banks.’
      • ‘The incoming chairman addressed the new committee and set out his agenda for the coming year.’
      • ‘The 37 per cent rise, designed to increase the income of committee chairmen, would have added £50,000 to wage bills.’
      • ‘Forstmann, who has been on the board, will become the chairman of the executive committee.’
      • ‘There will also be allowance increases for councillors with additional responsibilities such as those acting as committee chairmen and group leaders.’
      • ‘Farnhill Parish Council appointed its youngest ever chairman at its annual meeting.’
      • ‘Conference chairmen say they are no longer prepared to provide players for international games during the season as they conflict with their own clubs' interests.’
      • ‘In this rogues' gallery are former council leaders, former mayors, chairmen of powerful committees and a former chief whip.’
      • ‘In his address the chairman thanked the committee for all the help and support given during the past year.’
      • ‘The chairmen's conference allowed discussion on issues of common interest.’
      • ‘Speaking before the meeting, the council chairman said the idea was still in its infancy.’
      • ‘Then they explained to me that my presence there is what makes it possible for each of our Republican chairmen to be chairmen of their committees.’
      • ‘She is the chairman of the Environment Committee but has no knowledge of human rights.’
      • ‘The Chairman of the Commonwealth Games, Ron Walker, is among those upset by the decision.’
      • ‘Senior councillors, chairmen of major committees and group leaders, will still have their mobile phones paid for by the council.’
      • ‘Archibald is the chairman, president and chief executive of the company.’
      • ‘If this is true, translators in Beijing are making more money than all those executives, chairmen, presidents and top politicians for whom they render their services.’
    2. 1.2(since 1949) the leading figure in the Chinese Communist Party.
      • ‘Chairman Lien has to act tough and clear out those who are trying to split the party.’
  • 2historical A sedan-bearer.


The word chairman found itself accused of sexism in the 1970s, with critics opposed to the way it combined the notion of power with a grammatical gender bias. Two neutral alternatives were proposed, chair (which was actually recorded in this sense in the 17th century) and the neologism chairperson. Both terms faced initial resistance, and although they have now become accepted in standard English, the Oxford English Corpus shows that they are still far less common than chairman