Definition of chair in US English:

chair

noun

  • 1A separate seat for one person, typically with a back and four legs.

    • ‘She wouldn't mind being in charge of a country if she got this kind of chair for her seat…’
    • ‘Notice your behavior the next time you and your colleagues sit in a conference room for four hours in straight-back chairs.’
    • ‘Cassandra walked around the metallic table and took her seat in Inspector Stone's abandoned chair.’
    • ‘His high-backed desk chair was facing away from him.’
    • ‘The three of them sat in the wide wicker chairs on the front porch, watching as the sun set.’
    • ‘Tapping his fingers impatiently on the chair's armrest, Tom considered his options.’
    • ‘She moved away from Gabriel and to the nearest available chair, taking a seat.’
    • ‘Four navy blue upholstered chairs surrounded a wooden coffee table that had stacks of magazines on top.’
    • ‘We ordered a dining table and four chairs and were given a delivery time of two weeks.’
    • ‘Thus, canvas seating furniture was popular, as were caned chairs, sofas, cribs, and beds.’
    • ‘She led me through the door into a smaller room containing a sofa and chairs with a beautiful desk and bookcase.’
    • ‘He sank into the comfortable swivel chair behind the counter and put his feet up.’
    • ‘He gave me a playful grin and pulled out the chair next to him.’
    • ‘Sammy sat glumly in the comfy, high-backed chair in her room.’
    • ‘I sat in my comfy swivel chair, contemplating in the dark.’
    • ‘Unceremoniously, some number of thugs dragged me into an edifice and roughly seated me in a slight wooden chair.’
    • ‘Cafe tables and chairs face a bench seat below a lowered ceiling that curves for an atmospheric effect.’
    • ‘There was a lantern on the table providing illumination and the wooden folding chair was in front.’
    • ‘Myra happily drove over, and within ten minutes the two were seated on lounge chairs in his bedroom, listening to a couple of CDs Myra had brought.’
    • ‘I found a mahogany dining table and four chairs in an antique shop on Francis Street.’
    1. 1.1
      short for chairlift
    2. 1.2the chair
      short for electric chair
      • ‘In 1999, three of 98 executions made use of the chair.’
      • ‘At the trial the man is sent down for murder and seeing as it's Texas he's sent to the electric chair.’
      • ‘One by one, states are pulling the plug on the chairs popularly known as Old Sparky.’
      • ‘They fear this peaceful drug dealer and, because of this fear, they want him to die by the chair of electrocution.’
      electric chair
      View synonyms
  • 2The person in charge of a meeting or of an organization (used as a neutral alternative to chairman or chairwoman)

    ‘a three-year term as the board’s deputy chair’
    • ‘The Tory college could consist of MPs, grassroots grandees consisting of constituency chairs and council leaders, and finally members.’
    • ‘Penny White, former town mayor and deputy chair of the governors, said everybody involved in the school had worked hard and played their part.’
    • ‘There were three chairs, the chief rabbi, the president of Italy and the pope, all on three equal thrones.’
    • ‘The princess is the chair of the sister organization in the United Kingdom.’
    • ‘The chair of the Supreme Administrative Court also said that the article should not be amended.’
    • ‘Questions to outline your own agenda or point of view are always appropriate when you are the presenter or the meeting chair.’
    • ‘At the start of the meeting chair Alison Sinclair stated there would be a chance for a motion to come from the floor and a vote taken.’
    • ‘Deputy chair of Scottish Enterprise, he bangs the drum for business formation, pushing resources into the best growth prospects.’
    • ‘When the Mexican chair of the meeting declared the talks formally closed there were whoops of delight from the African delegates.’
    • ‘The chair of the meeting had to intervene to say that this debate would be revisited at the next conference and could we get back to the industrial stuff!’
    • ‘‘Mr Clark was the chair of the meeting and made a joke of this,’ Mr Morgan said.’
    • ‘Too often, however, the chair of an academic meeting is determined by status rather than skill.’
    • ‘At the meetings standing committees and their chairs are elected and the deputy mayors are chosen.’
    • ‘He began the first meeting of task-force chairs.’
    • ‘These manage policies in their areas and provide the chairs for interdepartmental meetings.’
    • ‘A lay chair would oversee the council, while a medical president would preside over the executive board.’
    • ‘Members will choose a new chair during the next meeting, scheduled for November 17th.’
    • ‘Not a breath, not hint of the idea that the Republican chair of the meeting was doing the disruption!’
    • ‘They changed the chair of the meeting each week so as to prevent anyone having charge of the rebellion.’
    • ‘Now he is back, retaining the party chair but taking charge of an enlarged interior ministry with the rank of deputy prime minister.’
    chairperson, chairman, chairwoman, president, convener, spokesperson, spokesman, spokeswoman, leader, mc, master of ceremonies, mistress of ceremonies
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 An official position of authority, for example on a board of directors.
      ‘the editorial chair’
      • ‘For the school board chair, the focus should be on the response behind the event.’
      • ‘She will preside as chair over the board of directors, executive committee and house of delegates.’
      • ‘Louie has been a member of the board of governors for the past five years and is currently board chair.’
      • ‘The chair of the police authority, said Mr Richards had been picked from a ‘strong field’.’
      • ‘While he served as a councillor, he was also on the hospital board, serving as chair for one year.’
      • ‘O'Rian wasn't elevated to chair of the local authority before now.’
      • ‘Applications are also being sought for the key position of chair of the steering group and of the action group.’
      • ‘My official university chair was clueless as to how to support my writing and research interests.’
      • ‘Britain must use its position as chair of the G8 and its presidency of the EU in 2005 to push real reform through those bodies.’
      • ‘Tomlinson was appointed to the CPB by Bill Clinton and elected chair of its board in September 2003.’
      • ‘Notwithstanding his resignation as the board's chair, Perle's strategy may have worked.’
      • ‘There is one very interesting comment in the article from the school board vice chair.’
      • ‘She was the first black female board chair of the Columbus Pacific Western Urban League.’
      • ‘My interest in this subject is based on my experience as a community college board chair.’
      • ‘He was glad that the position of chair would be held by a country from Eastern Europe, which understood the problems in the region, he said.’
      • ‘I served on the Board as chair of the Community Health section and for two terms as secretary of the Association.’
      • ‘The principal speaker will be Edward Luttwak, with Professor Sir Michael Howard in the chair.’
      • ‘He's done a great job in the chair all year - he was little bit nervous but I knew he could do it.’
      • ‘Sir Marmaduke Hussey was chair of the BBC Board of Governors from 1986 to 1996.’
      • ‘Rehearsals are underway for this years production which sees Siobhan Leonard return to the Director's chair.’
      • ‘His career experienced a renaissance in 2002, when he became the chair of the Constitutional Convention of the EU.’
      • ‘‘We have no powers to shut them down in the short term,’ the health board chair said.’
      • ‘Only DC Thomson in its Dundee stronghold has reserved its editors' chairs for Scotsmen.’
      • ‘A contest for the chair was well sign posted in advance and resulted in a full house.’
      • ‘Thus, presidents in Georgia do not report directly to a local board chair.’
      chairperson, chairman, chairwoman, president, convener, spokesperson, spokesman, spokeswoman, leader, mc, master of ceremonies, mistress of ceremonies
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2Tennis
      another term for umpire
  • 3A professorship.

    ‘he held a chair in physics’
    • ‘He did not stay very long in any place and after three years he was back in Graz, this time in the chair of experimental physics.’
    • ‘Dr. Freedman is chair and professor of psychiatry, emeritus at New York Medical College.’
    • ‘Whittaker accepted the chair of pure mathematics at the University of Liverpool in 1933.’
    • ‘Next fall and at subsequent fall events, new appointees to named faculty chairs and professorships will be recognized.’
    • ‘In a room full of students, college professors and department chairs, nervous laughter again followed.’
    • ‘Professor Marjorie Merryman is currently the chair of the Music Department.’
    • ‘She is chair and associate professor in the psychology department at Hampton University.’
    • ‘Donors' outright and deferred gifts also have funded 22 new faculty professorships and chairs.’
    • ‘In 1912 he held the chair of theoretical physics at the German University of Prague.’
    • ‘After three years in Rome, Beltrami moved to Pavia to take up the chair of mathematical physics there.’
    • ‘He will also hold a new endowed professorial chair in cancer and stem cell biology.’
    • ‘From 1939 he occupied the chair of mathematics at Durham, a position he was to hold for 20 years.’
    • ‘By the 1920's the German historical school was on its last legs but still ensconced in the professorial chairs.’
    • ‘He was born in Groningen while his father held the chair of mathematics there.’
    • ‘The Smiths' gift will be used for endowed chairs, professorships and student scholarships.’
    • ‘Some schools have resorted to filling chairs with professors who hold doctorates in other fields.’
    • ‘In 1970 James was appointed to the famous chair of Savilian Professor of Geometry.’
    • ‘Forty-nine are college professors, 10 are college department chairs and one has become a university president.’
    • ‘While we are unable to offer a professorial chair we cannot compete on a level playing field with the Universities.’
    • ‘Dr. Krishnan is chair and professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center.’
    professorship
    View synonyms
  • 4British A metal socket holding a railroad rail in place.

  • 5A particular seat in an orchestra.

    as modifier, in combination ‘she was fourth-chair trumpet’
    • ‘I am interested in a bass trombone chair with an orchestra, should one become vacant.’
    • ‘Donors are credited on the Musicians page of each concert programme directly beneath the chair that they have chosen to endow, recognising them as patrons of their chosen area.’
    • ‘While working with one of my cello students, who is first chair in her school orchestra, the subject of "what it really means to be first chair" was something that we spoke about for quite a while.’
    • ‘She was first chair for violin in orchestra ever since middle school.’

verb

[with object]
  • 1Act as chairperson of or preside over (an organization, meeting, or public event).

    • ‘The meeting was chaired by Mrs. Power, as the President was away.’
    • ‘The institution responsible for initiatives, chairing meetings, and implementing decisions was the presidency, rotating between member states.’
    • ‘During its period of office, that member state has responsibility for organizing and chairing meetings of the Council of Ministers and its various committees.’
    • ‘The office of Mayor is almost entirely ceremonial, though the Mayor chairs meetings.’
    • ‘So I was dismayed by the comments made by the conservative councillor chairing the meeting, who said this would be the last one and they would be replaced by ad hoc meetings when councillors feel they have something to tell us.’
    • ‘In addition to chairing meetings of the council, the office holder is obliged to attend a number of activities and functions.’
    • ‘I meet her at the headquarters of her organisation where she is chairing a meeting.’
    • ‘Mr Brown, of the Crescent Hotel, agreed to chair future meetings that are open to the public.’
    • ‘He is be formally known as the Mayor of the County of Kildare and will be addressed as Mayor when he chairs meetings of Kildare County Council and at all official functions.’
    • ‘The meeting was chaired by the President who welcomed a full attendance of members.’
    • ‘I am chairing public meetings around New Zealand on the misuse of methamphetamine, alcohol, and other drugs.’
    • ‘She also learned administrative skills - how to speak in public, write a grant, chair a meeting.’
    • ‘Tonight I'm chairing a public meeting in Hoveton on policing issues and then tomorrow morning we have Michael Howard coming to Cromer.’
    • ‘If you are holding a meeting or chairing a symposium and would like to prepare a collection of papers, but do not have enough material for a Special Publication, then please get in touch.’
    • ‘The meeting was chaired by the president, who welcomed the members.’
    • ‘Councillor Brett will be chairing a fringe meeting at the Lib Dems' conference in Bournemouth in order to drum up more national support for the local campaign.’
    • ‘Schools will be paired with local universities to provide expert speakers, the children choosing the topic, chairing the meetings and advertising each event.’
    • ‘The Senator will chair a Public Forum on Child Abuse at Southbank, Brisbane on July 31.’
    • ‘This was the first meeting chaired by the new national president.’
    • ‘‘It will be up to the administrations in those areas to decide,’ he remarked after chairing a ministerial meeting on political and security affairs.’
    preside over, take the chair of, be in the chair at, officiate at, moderate
    View synonyms
  • 2British Carry (someone) aloft in a chair or in a sitting position to celebrate a victory.

    • ‘You've never seen anyone get to the victory stand so fast, even with his short-stop house-mate Ruben's failed effort to chair him up there.’
    • ‘As Lord Cloncurry was departing, there was an universal cry to chair him into town, and he was surrounded for that purpose by a large group of gentlemen near the gate of the Old Man's Hospital.’
    • ‘So magical had been his performance that he was chaired from the ground by his opponents as well as his own team-members!’
    • ‘At the completion of the game, Warne lapped up yet another standing ovation from the 79,000-strong crowd, the champ responding in kind, bowing and blowing kisses to the crowd before a futile attempt to chair him off the ground.’

Phrases

  • take the chair

    • Act as chairperson.

      • ‘Our advisor again took the chair, in her speech she stressed the absolute necessity of having a president, secretary and treasurer, so that our branch could continue to function.’
      • ‘The election process was swift with the past vice president taking the chair as president for the next two years.’
      • ‘Kathy was a popular choice as President of the Kildare Guild and took the chair on many occasions - a role which she filled in a dignified and common-sense manner.’
      • ‘Jim Wallace took the chair and asked if anyone had any ideas about what ministers should be doing.’
      • ‘Held in the Royal British Legion on March 10, due to the unavoidable absence of the chairman, the vice-chairman took the chair.’
      • ‘Only if the Nordic bid was to be eliminated at this stage would Johansson take the chair as president of Uefa.’
      • ‘When I first took the chair of the Australia Council in the mid 90s, we surveyed most artists and writers about what they needed in order to produce their creative work.’
      • ‘Ron Atkinson took the chair for the following season.’
      • ‘It was also a significant day for Rohan who was performing his first official function in his home town since taking the chair.’
      • ‘Bridget Roche took the chair as Toastmaster for the meeting and was amply assisted by the Club President Aidan Russell.’
      preside, preside over, take charge, be in charge, be in charge of, be responsible, be responsible for, direct, head, head up, manage, oversee, superintend, supervise, conduct, run, lead, chair, take the chair
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: from Old French chaiere (modern chaire ‘bishop's throne, etc’, chaise ‘chair’), from Latin cathedra ‘seat’, from Greek kathedra. Compare with cathedral.

Pronunciation

chair

/CHer//tʃɛr/