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8 Words That Are Older Than You Think

chairman

[chair-muh n] /ˈtʃɛər mən/
noun, plural chairmen.
1.
the presiding officer of a meeting, committee, board, etc.
2.
the administrative head of a department in a high school, college, or university.
3.
someone employed to carry or wheel a person in a chair.
verb (used with object), chairmaned or chairmanned, chairmaning or chairmanning.
4.
to act as or be chairman of (a meeting, committee, etc.).
Origin
1645-1655
1645-55; chair + -man
Can be confused
chair, chairman, chairperson, chairwoman (see usage note at chairperson)
Usage note
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for chair-men

chairman

/ˈtʃɛəmən/
noun (pl) -men
1.
Also called chairperson, (fem) chairwoman. a person who presides over a company's board of directors, a committee, a debate, an administrative department, etc
2.
(history) someone who carries a sedan chair
Derived Forms
chairmanship, noun
Usage note
Chairman can seem inappropriate when applied to a woman, while chairwoman can be offensive. Chair and chairperson can be applied to either a man or a woman; chair is generally preferred to chairperson
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for chair-men

chairman

n.

1650s, "occupier of a chair of authority," from chair (n.) + man (n.). Meaning "member of a corporate body chosen to preside at meetings" is from c.1730. Chairwoman in this sense first attested 1752; chairperson 1971.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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10
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