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Pronunciation of principal /ˈprɪnsəpəl/ (say 'prinsuhpuhl)

adjective 1.  first or highest in rank, importance, value, etc.; chief; foremost.

2.  of the nature of principal, or a capital sum.

noun 3.  a chief, head, or governing officer.

4.  the head teacher of a school, college, etc.

5.  someone who takes a leading part; a chief actor or doer.

6.  the first player of a division of instruments in an orchestra (excepting the leader of the first violins).

7.  something of principal or chief importance.

8. Law
a.  a person authorising another (an agent) to represent him or her.
b.  a person directly responsible for a crime, either as actual perpetrator or as abetter present at its commission. Compare accessory (def. 3).

9.  a person primarily liable for an obligation (opposed to an endorser).

10.  the main body of an estate, etc., as distinguished from income.

11. Commerce a capital sum, as distinguished from interest or profit.

12. Music
a.  an organ stop otherwise called diapason.
b.  the subject of a fugue (opposed to answer).

13.  the central structure of a roof which determines its shape and supports it.

14.  each of the combatants in a duel, as distinguished from the seconds.

[Middle English, from Latin principālis first, chief]
principalship, noun

Usage: Principal is commonly confused with principle.