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. principalnoun

    the original amount of a debt on which interest is calculated

  2. principal, school principal, head teacher, headnoun

    the educator who has executive authority for a school

    "she sent unruly pupils to see the principal"

  3. star, principal, leadnoun

    an actor who plays a principal role

  4. principal, corpus, principal sumnoun

    capital as contrasted with the income derived from it

  5. principalnoun

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

  6. principal, dealeradjective

    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)adjective

    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. principalnoun

    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. principalnoun

    The chief administrator of a school.

    Etymology: From principalis.

  3. principalnoun

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

    Etymology: From principalis.

  4. principalnoun

    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. principalnoun

    The primary participant in a crime.

    Etymology: From principalis.

  6. principalnoun

    A company represented by a salesperson.

    My principal sells metal shims.

    Etymology: From principalis.

  7. principalnoun

    A partner or owner of a business.

    Etymology: From principalis.

  8. principalnoun

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

    Etymology: From principalis.

  9. principaladjective

    Primary; most important.

    Etymology: From principalis.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Principaladjective

    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. Principaladjective

    of or pertaining to a prince; princely

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

  3. Principalnoun

    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. Principalnoun

    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. Principalnoun

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

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

  6. Principalnoun

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

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

  7. Principalnoun

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

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

  8. Principalnoun

    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. Principalnoun

    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. Principalnoun

    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. Principalnoun

    a heirloom; a mortuary

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

  12. Principalnoun

    the first two long feathers of a hawk's wing

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

  13. Principalnoun

    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. Principalnoun

    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?

How to say principal in sign language?


  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. Congressman Amash:

    In comparing Barrs principal conclusions, congressional testimony, and other statements to Muellers report.

  2. Ben Rhodes:

    We have problems with this legislation in its own right, but our principal focus right now is, let's give time and space to the negotiators to see if they get this done, do not take action over the course of the next couple of months that could jeopardize those negotiations by backing the Iranians and the rest of the world away from the table.

  3. Drew Nelson:

    She came back in and had the entire class get up and leave to go to an empty classroom down the hall and when I tried to follow … the vice principal in the hallway blocked me.

  4. Chris Rufo:

    The incident that you're referring to happened late last year, the district had received several parent complaints and followed up with an investigation.After the investigation, we believe that the material that was presented in the class was inappropriate.The Meyeholz [ sic ] principal has reached out to the parent community to explain our position, and we have communicated this determination to the teacher as well.For privacy reasons, I am unable to comment further on personnel issues.

  5. Michael Silverton:

    We started building out our leveraged finance business six years ago from scratch, and it took us some time to build the relationships, in addition to our core advisory expertise, we have been working with clients across DCM, ECM and our principal transactions team, which has helped to solidify these relationships.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for principal

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • رئيسي, مدير, مديرةArabic
  • প্রধান শিক্ষকBengali
  • hlavníCzech
  • rektorDanish
  • Schulleiterin, Schulvorsteherin, hauptsächlich, Schuldirektor, Schulvorsteher, SchulleiterGerman
  • kapitalo, lernejestro, precipaEsperanto
  • principal de escuela, principal, jefe de estudios, director, director de escuelaSpanish
  • rehtori, pää-, pääasiallinenFinnish
  • principal, proviseure, directrice, proviseur, directeurFrench
  • ard-venainshtyr, ard-ynseyder, bun-argid, ard-vainshtyr, ard-er-ynsee, ard-ven-ynseeManx
  • מְנַהֶלֶת, מְנַהֵלHebrew
  • Hungarian
  • capitale, principale, presideItalian
  • 主要な, 学校長, 校長Japanese
  • atuarfiup pisortaa, atuarfiit pisortaatKalaallisut, Greenlandic
  • 원금, 주요한, 교장, 校長, 학교 교장Korean
  • kapitalasLithuanian
  • tumuaki, aporeiMāori
  • principaal, schoolhoofd, rector, voornaamsteDutch
  • rektorNorwegian
  • kapitał, podstawowy, głównyPolish
  • diretor, principalPortuguese
  • principal, directorRomanian
  • ре́ктор, [[основной, главный, [[основно́й]] [[долг]], директри́са, дире́ктор, основнойRussian
  • glávenSlovene
  • kapitalbelopp, rektor, kapital, huvudsakligSwedish
  • หลักThai
  • asılTurkish
  • 校長, chủ yếu, hiệu trưởng, chínhVietnamese
  • 主要Chinese

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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.
    LikeReplyReport7 years ago


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manifestly demonstrative
  • A. flabby
  • B. splay
  • C. bibulous
  • D. ostensive

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