What does principal mean?

Definitions for principal
ˈprɪn sə pəlprin·ci·pal

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word principal.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. principal(noun)

    the original amount of a debt on which interest is calculated

  2. principal, school principal, head teacher, head(noun)

    the educator who has executive authority for a school

    "she sent unruly pupils to see the principal"

  3. star, principal, lead(noun)

    an actor who plays a principal role

  4. principal, corpus, principal sum(noun)

    capital as contrasted with the income derived from it

  5. principal(noun)

    (criminal law) any person involved in a criminal offense, regardless of whether the person profits from such involvement

  6. principal, dealer(adj)

    the major party to a financial transaction at a stock exchange; buys and sells for his own account

  7. chief(a), main(a), primary(a), principal(a), master(a)(adj)

    most important element

    "the chief aim of living"; "the main doors were of solid glass"; "the principal rivers of America"; "the principal example"; "policemen were primary targets"; "the master bedroom"; "a master switch"


  1. principal(Noun)

    The money originally invested or loaned, on which basis interest and returns are calculated.

    A portion of your mortgage payment goes to reduce the principal, and the rest covers interest.

    Etymology: From principalis.

  2. principal(Noun)

    The chief administrator of a school.

    Etymology: From principalis.

  3. principal(Noun)

    The chief executive and chief academic officer of a university or college.

    Etymology: From principalis.

  4. principal(Noun)

    One who directs another (the agent) to act on oneu2032s behalf.

    When an attorney represents a client, the client is the principal who permits the attorney, the clientu2032s agent, to act on the clientu2032s behalf.

    Etymology: From principalis.

  5. principal(Noun)

    The primary participant in a crime.

    Etymology: From principalis.

  6. principal(Noun)

    A company represented by a salesperson.

    My principal sells metal shims.

    Etymology: From principalis.

  7. principal(Noun)

    A partner or owner of a business.

    Etymology: From principalis.

  8. principal(Noun)

    A diapason, a type of organ stop on a pipe organ.

    Etymology: From principalis.

  9. principal(Adjective)

    Primary; most important.

    Etymology: From principalis.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Principal(adj)

    highest in rank, authority, character, importance, or degree; most considerable or important; chief; main; as, the principal officers of a Government; the principal men of a state; the principal productions of a country; the principal arguments in a case

    Etymology: [F., from L. principalis. See Prince.]

  2. Principal(adj)

    of or pertaining to a prince; princely

    Etymology: [F., from L. principalis. See Prince.]

  3. Principal(noun)

    a leader, chief, or head; one who takes the lead; one who acts independently, or who has controlling authority or influence; as, the principal of a faction, a school, a firm, etc.; -- distinguished from a subordinate, abettor, auxiliary, or assistant

    Etymology: [F., from L. principalis. See Prince.]

  4. Principal(noun)

    the chief actor in a crime, or an abettor who is present at it, -- as distinguished from an accessory

    Etymology: [F., from L. principalis. See Prince.]

  5. Principal(noun)

    a chief obligor, promisor, or debtor, -- as distinguished from a surety

    Etymology: [F., from L. principalis. See Prince.]

  6. Principal(noun)

    one who employs another to act for him, -- as distinguished from an agent

    Etymology: [F., from L. principalis. See Prince.]

  7. Principal(noun)

    a thing of chief or prime importance; something fundamental or especially conspicuous

    Etymology: [F., from L. principalis. See Prince.]

  8. Principal(noun)

    a capital sum of money, placed out at interest, due as a debt or used as a fund; -- so called in distinction from interest or profit

    Etymology: [F., from L. principalis. See Prince.]

  9. Principal(noun)

    the construction which gives shape and strength to a roof, -- generally a truss of timber or iron, but there are roofs with stone principals. Also, loosely, the most important member of a piece of framing

    Etymology: [F., from L. principalis. See Prince.]

  10. Principal(noun)

    in English organs the chief open metallic stop, an octave above the open diapason. On the manual it is four feet long, on the pedal eight feet. In Germany this term corresponds to the English open diapason

    Etymology: [F., from L. principalis. See Prince.]

  11. Principal(noun)

    a heirloom; a mortuary

    Etymology: [F., from L. principalis. See Prince.]

  12. Principal(noun)

    the first two long feathers of a hawk's wing

    Etymology: [F., from L. principalis. See Prince.]

  13. Principal(noun)

    one of turrets or pinnacles of waxwork and tapers with which the posts and center of a funeral hearse were formerly crowned

    Etymology: [F., from L. principalis. See Prince.]

  14. Principal(noun)

    a principal or essential point or rule; a principle

    Etymology: [F., from L. principalis. See Prince.]


  1. Principal

    A principal in computer security is an entity that can be authenticated by a computer system or network. It is referred to as a security principal in Java and Microsoft literature. Principals can be individual people, computers, services, computational entities such as processes and threads, or any group of such things. They need to be identified and authenticated before they can be assigned rights and privileges over resources in the network. A principal typically has an associated identifier that allows it to be referenced for identification or assignment of properties and permissions.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Principal

    prin′si-pal, adj. taking the first place: highest in rank, character, or importance: chief.—n. a principal person or thing: a head, as of a school or college: one who takes a leading part: money on which interest is paid: (archit.) a main beam or timber: (law) the person who commits a crime, or one who aids and abets him in doing it: a person for whom another becomes surety, a person who, being sui juris, employs another to do an act which he is competent himself to do: (mus.) an organ-stop: (Shak.) the principal rafter.—n. Principal′ity, supreme power: the territory of a prince or the country which gives title to him: (B.) a prince: (obs.) a power: (pl.) an order of angels, the seventh in the hierarchy of Dionysius.—adv. Prin′cipally.—ns. Prin′cipalness, the state of being principal or chief; Prin′cipalship, position of a principal; Prin′cipate, primary: a principality, esp. the office of the ancient Roman emperors. [L. principalis.]

Editors Contribution

  1. principal

    A person with the accurate and specific ability, experience, knowledge, skills, qualifications, training and expertise to manage, review and support an education facility, school or college and teachers or tutors where appropriate and their collective responsibilities and objectives.

    The principal of the school was a true leader and managed a united team to deliver for the shared prosperity of everyone.

    Submitted by MaryC on April 1, 2020  
  2. principal

    An important element.

    The principal element of the computer is the main memory which has a primary function within the computer.

    Submitted by MaryC on April 1, 2020  

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'principal' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2488

  2. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'principal' in Nouns Frequency: #2743

  3. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'principal' in Adjectives Frequency: #337

How to pronounce principal?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say principal in sign language?

  1. principal


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of principal in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of principal in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of principal in a Sentence

  1. Andy Herber:

    Every time I would drop the kids off at school ...like every teacher and the custodians and the principal's office staff and the kids would all say, 'how is Nathan today?'.

  2. Andrea Dworkin:

    En esta sociedad, la norma de la masculinidad es la agresión fálica. la sexualidad masculina es, por definición, intensamente y rígidamente fálica. la identidad de un hombre se encuentra en su concepción de sí mismo como el poseedor de un falo; valor de un hombre se encuentra en su orgullo por la identidad fálica. la principal característica de la identidad fálica es que vale la pena es totalmente supeditado a la posesión de un falo. ya que los hombres no tienen otros criterios para la pena, hay otra noción de identidad, los que no tienen falos no se reconocen como plenamente humana.

  3. Geoffroy Wallier:

    Progressively, companies with credit difficulties will be allowed to default in China and investors should be prepared to lose some of their principal.

  4. Isaac Litton Middle School:

    She went to one of the most highly regarded universities in the United States, if not the world, and the state is telling her she can't be a principal here, if we lose her, it's a blow to the system. And it's a blow to the state.

  5. Marlon Brando:

    Acting is the expression of a neurotic impulse. It's a bum's life. The principal benefit acting has afforded me is the money to pay for my psychoanalysis.

Images & Illustrations of principal

  1. principalprincipalprincipalprincipalprincipal

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for principal

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • مديرة, رئيسي, مديرArabic
  • প্রধান শিক্ষকBengali
  • hlavníCzech
  • rektorDanish
  • Schulvorsteher, Schulleiter, Schulleiterin, Schulvorsteherin, Schuldirektor, hauptsächlichGerman
  • kapitalo, precipa, lernejestroEsperanto
  • principal de escuela, jefe de estudios, principal, director, director de escuelaSpanish
  • pää-, rehtori, pääasiallinenFinnish
  • directeur, proviseur, directrice, proviseure, principalFrench
  • ard-ven-ynsee, ard-ynseyder, ard-venainshtyr, bun-argid, ard-vainshtyr, ard-er-ynseeManx
  • מְנַהֵל, מְנַהֶלֶתHebrew
  • Hungarian
  • principale, preside, capitaleItalian
  • 校長, 主要な, 学校長Japanese
  • atuarfiit pisortaat, atuarfiup pisortaaKalaallisut, Greenlandic
  • 校長, 원금, 학교 교장, 주요한, 교장Korean
  • kapitalasLithuanian
  • tumuaki, aporeiMāori
  • schoolhoofd, voornaamste, rector, principaalDutch
  • rektorNorwegian
  • kapitał, podstawowy, głównyPolish
  • principal, diretorPortuguese
  • principal, directorRomanian
  • [[основной, главный, директри́са, ре́ктор, дире́ктор, основной, [[основно́й]] [[долг]]Russian
  • glávenSlovene
  • kapitalbelopp, huvudsaklig, kapital, rektorSwedish
  • หลักThai
  • asılTurkish
  • 校長, chủ yếu, chính, hiệu trưởngVietnamese
  • 主要Chinese

Get even more translations for principal »


Find a translation for the principal definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:

Discuss these principal definitions with the community:

1 Comment

  • Apostle J. Earl Haynes
    As a Pastor, I wanted something to relate to the teachings of the values and morale's of our Parents and Grand Parents, The Unspoken Standards of convictions to do the right thing.
    LikeReplyReport6 years ago


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"principal." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 22 Apr. 2021. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/principal>.

Are we missing a good definition for principal? Don't keep it to yourself...

Browse Definitions.net

Free, no signup required:

Add to Chrome

Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

Free, no signup required:

Add to Firefox

Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!


Are you a words master?

long and thin and often limp
  • A. commensal
  • B. repugnant
  • C. inexpiable
  • D. lank

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for principal:


Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.