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1. First or highest in rank or importance. See Synonyms at chief.
2. Of, relating to, or being financial principal, or a principal in a financial transaction.
a. One who holds a position of presiding rank, especially the head of an elementary school, middle school, or high school.
b. A main participant in a situation, especially a financial transaction.
c. A person having a leading or starring role in a performance, such as the first player in a section of an orchestra.
a. An amount of capital originally borrowed or invested, as opposed to the interest paid or accruing on it.
b. The most significant part of an estate, as opposed to minor or incidental components.
3. Law
a. The person on behalf of whom an agent acts.
b. The person having prime responsibility for an obligation as distinguished from one who acts as surety or as an endorser.
c. The main actor in the perpetration of a crime.
4. Architecture Either of a pair of inclined timbers forming the sides of a triangular truss for a pitched roof.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin prīncipālis, from prīnceps, prīncip-, leader, emperor; see per in Indo-European roots.]

prin′ci·pal·ly adv.
prin′ci·pal·ship′ n.
Usage Note: Principal and principle are often confused but have no meanings in common. Principle is only a noun and usually refers to a rule or standard. Principal is both a noun and an adjective. As a noun, it has specialized meanings in law and finance, but in general usage it refers to a person who holds a high position or plays an important role: a meeting among all the principals in the transaction. As an adjective it has the sense of "chief" or "leading": The coach's principal concern is the quarterback's health.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.principalship - the post of principal
berth, billet, post, situation, position, office, place, spot - a job in an organization; "he occupied a post in the treasury"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
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References in classic literature ?
I've been offered the principalship of the Summerside High School."
After two runs on Dundalk's polytrack, the Austin Leahy-trained Principalship showed plenty of speed when collared late by Aidan O'Brien's Mount Fuji in Cork last time.
This book will help aspiring principals determine whether "The Principal" is truly who they want to be and help new principals grow and thrive in the principalship.
principalship at Elementary East and then principal at Woodland Primary School.
Eliseo Barsaga to remedy four observable weaknesses: 40% Grade I dropouts in the middle of the year, irrelevance of the curriculum, the loss of principalship for academic supervision, and the lack of school monitoring and evaluation.
As Kate Rousmaniere (2013) details in her social history of the principalship, graduate programs providing educational leadership credentials served as an increasingly common career pathway for men, particularly veterans who returned from World War II and attended graduate school on the GI Bill.
The NCA was at that time under the principalship of Professor Shakir Ali, one of Pakistan's earliest modernist painters.
Reclaiming the Principalship: Instructional Leadership Strategies to Engage Your School Community and Focus on Learning
"It was during Louis Carus' principalship, and we had to start to argue to develop composition as a second-study subject, and then gradually it became arguable that it would be suitable as a first-study subject.
I've told this story before because it illustrates one of the most hazardous adjuster mistakes: undisclosed principalship. I was assigned a claim from an out-of-state insurer to handle an accident for one of their insureds, whom I will call Mrs.
The National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Catholic Schools (NSBECS) has stated, "An excellent Catholic school has a qualified leader/leadership team empowered by the governing body to realize and implement the school's mission and vision." While the challenges faced by Catholic schools are great, they are exacerbated by the fact that principal preparation programs for a long time did not adequately prepare candidates for the challenges of the principalship. While reform efforts ushered in over the last 15 years have begun to demonstrate more positive results, more improvements are needed--particularly for institutions that wish to meet the needs of those who want to lead Catholic schools.