chair

Definitions

General English

Construction

  • A frame built into a wall to provide support for a sink, lavatory, urinal, or toilet. Also called a carrier.
  • In concrete construction, a small metal or plastic support for reinforcing steel. The support is used to maintain proper positioning during concrete placement.

Politics

  • noun the position of the person who is in charge of a meeting

Origin & History of “chair”

Chair comes ultimately from Greek kathédrā ‘seat’ (source also of cathedral, of course), which was a compound originally meaning literally ‘something for sitting down on’ – it was formed from katá- ‘down’ and *hed- ‘sit’. It produced Latin cathedra, which in Old French became chaiere, the source of the English word. The use of chair specifically for the seat occupied by someone presiding at a meeting dates from the mid 17th century, and its metaphorical extension to the person sitting in it, as symbolizing his or her office – as in ‘address one’s remarks to the chair’ – is virtually contemporary (‘The Chair behaves himself like a busby amongst so many schoolboys’, Thomas Burton’s Diary, 23 march 1658); but its use as a synonym for chairperson, to avoid a distinction on grounds of sex, is a late 20th-century development.
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