Loading...

American Dictionary of the English Language

Dictionary Search

Principal


PRIN'CIPAL, adjective [Latin principalis, from princeps.]

1. Chief; highest in rank, character or respectability; as the principal officers of a government; the principal men of a city, town, or state. Acts 25:23. 1 Chronicles 24:6.

2. Chief; most important or considerable; as the principal topics of debate; the principal arguments in a case; the principal points of law; the principal beams of a building; the principal productions of a country.

Wisdom is the principal thing. Proverbs 4:7.

3. In law, a principal challenge, is where the cause assigned carries with it prima facie evidence of partiality, favor or malice.

4. In music, fundamental.

PRIN'CIPAL, noun A chief or head; one who takes the lead; as the principal of a faction, an insurrection or mutiny.

1. The president, governor, or chief in authority. We apply the word to the chief instructor of an academy or seminary of learning.

2. In law, the actor or absolute perpetrator of a crime, or an abettor. A principal in the first degree, is the absolute perpetrator of the crime; a principal in the second degree, is one who is present, aiding and abetting the fact to be done; distinguished from an accessory. In treason, all persons concerned are principals.

3. In commerce, a capital sum lent on interest, due as a debt or used as a fund; so called in distinction from interest or profits.

Taxes must be continued, because we have no other means for paying off the principal

4. One primarily engaged; a chief party; in distinction from an auxiliary.

We were not principals, but auxiliaries in the war.