Definition of preside in English:



  • 1Be in the position of authority in a meeting or other gathering.

    ‘the prime minister will preside at an emergency cabinet meeting’
    ‘the sentence imposed by the presiding judge’
    • ‘A High Court judge presides in all Central Criminal Court cases, and High Court judges already sit in Limerick three times a year, but only for civil cases.’
    • ‘McManus and four other top administrators presided from chairs usually reserved for council members.’
    • ‘Each side - the plaintiff company and defendant government - gets to choose one of the three arbitrators who will hear the case, then they jointly select the third, who presides.’
    • ‘Many distinguished judges and barristers presided there.’
    • ‘A Protestant, a Catholic, and an Orthodox read from the Scriptures; Pope John has been dead for two years and Pope Paul VI presides and leads the common prayer.’
    • ‘Father Spellman, presiding, spoke to mourners of a great sadness in all our hearts today.’
    • ‘After a hectic day of bickering and money-making, the gang reverently enters an elaborate boardroom where Trump presides.’
    • ‘At a dinner party given by the King at Balmoral in September 1936, Wallis was presiding as official hostess.’
    • ‘Three judges in black robes presided from a bench under the red-and-gold emblem of the People's Republic of China.’
    • ‘Tony Hargreaves, presiding, congratulated Simms on a glowing report by the probation service.’
    • ‘Native Tanzanians preside in all positions in major religions.’
    • ‘Prince Otto von Bismarck, chancellor of the German Empire, was presiding.’
    • ‘Equally disturbing to many, Parliament routed execution of these new laws through admiralty courts, where a judge would preside unhampered by either jurors or public spectators.’
    • ‘So far, unionists have refused to elect a deputy Lord Mayor so that Maskey, alone in the chair, will have to preside without respite throughout all council meetings.’
    • ‘I spent nights lying in bed imagining I was presiding with Warren Burger or John Jay.’
    • ‘Frances Moran presides here, over a small round table in a room covered with charts, pictures and books.’
    • ‘A memorial Mass is scheduled this morning in St Peter's Square at 10.30 am with Sodano presiding.’
    • ‘And, of course, the vice president presides as the president of the Senate, and casts the tie-breaking vote when there are ties between the two parties.’
    • ‘The case will resume on October 7, exactly a year after the home run, with another judge presiding.’
    • ‘The Farm Council will meet at Hotel Europe with Agriculture and Food Minister Joe Walsh presiding.’
    chair, take the chair, be chairman, be chairperson, be chairwoman, officiate, officiate at
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    1. 1.1preside over Be in charge of (a place or situation)
      ‘Johnson has presided over eight matches since Beck's dismissal’
      • ‘He has sent us a copy of his letter to the union over which she presides.’
      • ‘The image we see is of an aloof presidency, presiding over dysfunctional government agencies.’
      • ‘The World Trade Organisation will preside over a conference of most of the world's countries in Cancun, Mexico, this month.’
      • ‘Yet, despite his shortcomings, he presides smugly over a programme in which young couples pit their attractiveness against that of their friends to win cash.’
      • ‘This government isn't over yet and it presides over an economy which is delivering more cash than the Treasury knows what to do with.’
      • ‘He presides over an administration that is riven with ethnic, religious and regional rivalries.’
      • ‘He or she will preside over the government as chairperson of the cabinet and have the power to issue decrees.’
      • ‘This massive biography describes the rise to power of the last great English churchman to preside over the King's government.’
      • ‘‘I only wish farmers could be fully compensated for the incompetence, inefficiency and neglect of the Department over which Mrs Beckett presides,’ he said.’
      • ‘The Labour government has presided over a widening of the gap between rich and poor.’
      • ‘For a long period the Christian Democrats did not lose control of the democratic process and of the governments presiding over it.’
      • ‘What does Rupert Lowe, the club chairman who presides over this delicate situation, make of it all?’
      • ‘The case will eventually be dealt with in the Crown Court, as the charges are too serious for magistrates to preside over.’
      • ‘That is why they conducted inspections of all the villages they presided over.’
      • ‘She will preside as chair over the board of directors, executive committee and house of delegates.’
      • ‘He remains the idol of the Russian armed forces today, and his portrait presides over most commanders' offices.’
      • ‘They were found to have presided over miscarriages of justice that led to wrongful imprisonments.’
      • ‘His government had presided over rising unemployment and mass sackings.’
      • ‘He also conducts foreign policy and presides over cabinet meetings.’
      • ‘Almost half were in Texas and presided over by Bush, as governor, before he was elected to the White House.’
      be in charge of, be responsible for, be accountable for, be at the head of, be at the helm of, head, be head of, manage, administer, organize, be in control of, control, direct, lead, run, govern, rule, be boss of, head up, conduct, command, supervise, superintend, oversee, handle
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  • 2preside atPlay (a musical instrument, especially a keyboard instrument) at a public gathering.

    • ‘No longer was there a need for the composer to preside at the keyboard.’
    • ‘He will preside at the piano while the baritone Kenneth Holton handles the vocal chores.’
    • ‘For many years, David Harris has been like an adopted son around our home and has presided at the piano on many occasions for us.’
    • ‘For 15 years he presided at the largest church organ in the world as Choirmaster and Organist of the Cadet Chapel at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.’


Early 17th century: from French présider, from Latin praesidere, from prae ‘before’ + sedere ‘sit’.