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.

  2. principalnoun

    The chief administrator of a school.

  3. principalnoun

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

  4. principalnoun

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

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

  5. principalnoun

    The primary participant in a crime.

  6. principalnoun

    A company represented by a salesperson.

    My principal sells metal shims.

  7. principalnoun

    A partner or owner of a business.

  8. principalnoun

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

  9. principaladjective

    Primary; most important.

  10. Etymology: From principalis.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. PRINCIPALadjective

    Etymology: principal, Fr. principalis, Lat.

    Suspicion of friend, nor fear of foe,
    That hazarded his health, had he at all;
    But walk’d at will, and wandred to and fro,
    In the pride of his freedom principal. Edmund Spenser.

    This later is ordered, partly and as touching principal matters by none but precepts divine only; partly and as concerning things of inferior regard by ordinances, as well human as divine. Richard Hooker, b. v. s. 4.

    Can you remember any of the principal evils, that he laid to the charge of women. William Shakespeare, As You like it.

  2. Principalnoun

    Etymology: from the adj.

    Seconds in factions do many times, when the faction sub-divideth, prove principals. Francis Bacon.

    We were not principals, but auxiliaries in the war. Jonathan Swift.

    In judgment, some persons are present as principals, and others only as accessaries. John Ayliffe, Parergon.

    Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture,
    But touch’d with human gentleness and love,
    Forgive a moiety of the principal. William Shakespeare.

    Taxes must be continued, because we have no other means for paying off the principal. Jonathan Swift, Miscellanies.

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

  2. Principaladjective

    of or pertaining to a prince; princely

  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

  4. Principalnoun

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

  5. Principalnoun

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

  6. Principalnoun

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

  7. Principalnoun

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

  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

  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

  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

  11. Principalnoun

    a heirloom; a mortuary

  12. Principalnoun

    the first two long feathers of a hawk's wing

  13. Principalnoun

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

  14. Principalnoun

    a principal or essential point or rule; a principle

  15. 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. 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.

  2. Chicago Public Schools:

    Classes will remain canceled for all CPS students starting tomorrow, Friday, January 7, as we continue working to get CTU staff back in our buildings. However, a small number of schools MAY be able to offer in-person activities for students if enough staff are reporting to work, you SHOULD NOT plan to send your child to school, unless your child's principal tells you that students can come in for in-person activities.

  3. Sir Denison Miller:

    This truth is well known among our principal men now engaged in forming an imperialism of Capital to govern the world. By dividing the voters through the political party system, we can get them to expend their energies in fighting over questions of no importance. Thus by discreet action we can secure for ourselves what has been so well planned and so successfully accomplished.

  4. Interim Superintendent Wayne Walters:

    As a former principal, I know just the possibility of an incident like today is what keeps us up at night.

  5. Mark Twain:

    If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.

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
    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.
    LikeReplyReport8 years ago


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relating to or concerned with a city or densely populated area
  • A. transparent
  • B. nasty
  • C. urban
  • D. plush

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