"a seat with a back, intended for one person," early 13c., chaere, from Old French chaiere "chair, seat, throne" (12c.; Modern French chaire "pulpit, throne;" the humbler sense having gone since 16c. with the variant form chaise), from Latin cathedra "seat" (see cathedral).
The figurative sense of "seat of office or authority" (c. 1300) originally was in reference to bishops and professors. The meaning "office of a professor" (1816) is extended from the seat from which a professor lectures (mid-15c.). The meaning "seat of a person presiding at meeting" is from 1640s. As short for electric chair from 1900. Chair-rail "strip or board of wood fastened to a wall at such a height as to prevent the plaster from being scraped by the backs of chairs" is from 1822.
mid-15c., "install in a chair or seat" (implied in chairing), from chair (n.); the sense of "preside over" (a meeting, etc.) is attested by 1921. Related: Chaired.
updated on November 20, 2022
Dictionary entries near chair