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[chan-suh-ler, -sler, chahn-] /ˈtʃæn sə lər, -slər, ˈtʃɑn-/
the chief minister of state in certain parliamentary governments, as in Germany; prime minister; premier.
the chief administrative officer in certain American universities.
a secretary, as to a king or noble or of an embassy.
the priest in charge of a Roman Catholic chancery.
the title of various important judges and other high officials.
(in some states of the U.S.) the judge of a court of equity or chancery.
British. the honorary, nonresident, titular head of a university.
Compare vice-chancellor.
Origin of chancellor
before 1100; Middle English chanceler < Anglo-French < Late Latin cancellārius doorkeeper, literally, man at the barrier (see chancel, -er2); replacing Middle English canceler, Old EnglishLate Latin, as above
Related forms
underchancellor, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for chancellor
  • It is one of many annual back-to-school rituals: an interview with the chancellor about his priorities for the coming year.
  • But a prime minister should not get too much credit for climbing out of a hole he himself dug as chancellor.
  • The chancellor will have civil disobedience on his hands.
  • Shepherd plays a vice chancellor of a large university.
  • The university's president and the university system's chancellor are holding a news conference today to present the report.
  • Yet the chancellor's powers to achieve this goal are limited.
  • The chancellor's desire to nurture all of the potential of all of the people is a wonderful thing, no doubt.
  • These are the dean, the precentor, the chancellor and the treasurer.
British Dictionary definitions for chancellor


/ˈtʃɑːnsələ; -slə/
the head of the government in several European countries
(US) the president of a university or, in some colleges, the chief administrative officer
(Brit & Canadian) the honorary head of a university Compare vice chancellor (sense 1)
(US) (in some states) the presiding judge of a court of chancery or equity
(Brit) the chief secretary of an embassy
(Christianity) a clergyman acting as the law officer of a bishop
(archaic) the chief secretary of a prince, nobleman, etc
Derived Forms
chancellorship, noun
Word Origin
C11: from Anglo-French chanceler, from Late Latin cancellārius porter, secretary, from Latin cancellī lattice; see chancel
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 chancellor

early 12c., from Old French chancelier (12c.), from Late Latin cancellarius "keeper of the barrier, secretary, usher of a law court," so called because he worked behind a lattice (Latin cancellus) at a basilica or law court (see chancel). In the Roman Empire, a sort of court usher; the post gradually gained importance in the Western kingdoms. A variant form, canceler, existed in Old English, from Old North French, but was replaced by this central French form.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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chancellor in the Bible

one who has judicial authority, literally, a "lord of judgement;" a title given to the Persian governor of Samaria (Ezra 4:8, 9, 17).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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