head vs principal what difference

what is difference between head and principal

English

Alternative forms

  • heed, hed (obsolete)
  • ‘ead (UK, eye dialect)

Pronunciation

  • enPR: hĕd, IPA(key): /hɛd/
  • Rhymes: -ɛd

Etymology 1

From Middle English hed, heed, heved, heaved, from Old English hēafod (head; top; source, origin; chief, leader; capital), from Proto-Germanic *haubudą (head), from Proto-Indo-European *káput-.

Noun

head (countable and uncountable, plural heads or head)

  1. (countable) The part of the body of an animal or human which contains the brain, mouth, and main sense organs.
    1. (people) To do with heads.
      1. Mental or emotional aptitude or skill.
      2. (figuratively, metonymically) Mind; one’s own thoughts.
      3. A headache; especially one resulting from intoxication.
      4. A headdress; a covering for the head.
      5. (figuratively, metonymically) An individual person.
    2. (animals) To do with heads.
      1. (plural head, measure word for livestock and game) A single animal.
      2. The population of game.
      3. The antlers of a deer.
  2. (countable) The topmost, foremost, or leading part.
    1. The end of a table.
      1. The end of a rectangular table furthest from the entrance; traditionally considered a seat of honor.
      2. (billiards) The end of a pool table opposite the end where the balls have been racked.
    2. (countable) The principal operative part of a machine or tool.
      1. The end of a hammer, axe, golf club, or similar implement used for striking other objects.
      2. The end of a nail, screw, bolt, or similar fastener which is opposite the point; usually blunt and relatively wide.
      3. The sharp end of an arrow, spear, or pointer.
      4. (lacrosse) The top part of a lacrosse stick that holds the ball.
      5. (music) A drum head, the membrane which is hit to produce sound.
      6. A machine element which reads or writes electromagnetic signals to or from a storage medium.
      7. (computing) The part of a disk drive responsible for reading and writing data.
      8. (automotive) The cylinder head, a platform above the cylinders in an internal combustion engine, containing the valves and spark plugs.
    3. (uncountable, countable) The foam that forms on top of beer or other carbonated beverages.
    4. (engineering) The end cap of a cylindrically-shaped pressure vessel.
    5. (Britain, geology) Deposits near the top of a geological succession.
    6. (journalism) Short for headline.
      • 1968, Earl English, ‎Clarence Hach, Scholastic Journalism (page 166)
        The content of a headline over a news story should be taken from the lead of the story. [] The head should give the same impression as the body of the story.
    7. (medicine) The end of an abscess where pus collects.
    8. (music) The headstock of a guitar.
    9. (nautical) A leading component.
      1. The top edge of a sail.
      2. The bow of a vessel.
    10. (Britain) A headland.
  3. (social, countable, metonymically) A leader or expert.
    1. The place of honour, or of command; the most important or foremost position; the front.
    2. (metonymically) Leader; chief; mastermind.
    3. (metonymically) A headmaster or headmistress.
      • 1992 June 24, Edwina Currie, Diary:
        At 4pm, the phone went. It was The Sun: ‘We hear your daughter’s been expelled for cheating at her school exams…’

        She’d made a remark to a friend at the end of the German exam and had been pulled up for talking.

        As they left the exam room, she muttered that the teacher was a ‘twat’. He heard and flipped—a pretty stupid thing to do, knowing the kids were tired and tense after exams. Instead of dropping it, the teacher complained to the Head and Deb was carpeted.

    4. (music, slang, figuratively, metonymically) A person with an extensive knowledge of hip hop.
  4. A significant or important part.
    1. A beginning or end, a protuberance.
      1. The source of a river; the end of a lake where a river flows into it.
      2. A clump of seeds, leaves or flowers; a capitulum.
        1. An ear of wheat, barley, or other small cereal.
        2. The leafy top part of a tree.
      3. (anatomy) The rounded part of a bone fitting into a depression in another bone to form a ball-and-socket joint.
      4. (nautical) The toilet of a ship.
      5. (in the plural) Tiles laid at the eaves of a house.
        • 1875, Edward H. Knight, Knight’s American Mechanical Dictionary, vol. II, page 1086
          Heads. (Roofing.) Tiles which are laid at the eaves of a house
    2. A component.
      1. (jazz) The principal melody or theme of a piece.
      2. (linguistics) A morpheme that determines the category of a compound or the word that determines the syntactic type of the phrase of which it is a member.
  5. Headway; progress.
  6. Topic; subject.
  7. (only in the singular) Denouement; crisis.
    • 1712 October 18, anonymous letter in The Spectator, edited by Joseph Addison, no. 513, collected in The Works of the Late Right Honorable Joseph Addison, Esq, Birmingham: John Baskerville, published 1761, volume IV, page 10:
      The indiſpoſition which has long hung upon me, is at laſt grown to ſuch an head, that it muſt quickly make an end of me, or of itſelf.
  8. (fluid dynamics) Pressure and energy.
    1. (uncountable, countable) A buildup of fluid pressure, often quantified as pressure head.
      How much head do you have at the Glens Falls feeder dam?
    2. The difference in elevation between two points in a column of fluid, and the resulting pressure of the fluid at the lower point.
    3. More generally, energy in a mass of fluid divided by its weight.
  9. (slang, uncountable) Fellatio or cunnilingus; oral sex.
  10. (slang) The glans penis.
  11. (slang, countable) A heavy or habitual user of illicit drugs.
    • 1936, Lee Duncan, Over The Wall, Dutton
      Then I saw the more advanced narcotic addicts, who shot unbelievable doses of powerful heroin in the main line – the vein of their arms; the hysien users; chloroform sniffers, who belonged to the riff-raff element of the dope chippeys, who mingled freely with others of their kind; canned heat stiffs, paragoric hounds, laudanum fiends, and last but not least, the veronal heads.
    • 2005, Martin Torgoff, Can’t Find My Way Home, Simon & Schuster, page 177,
      The hutch now looks like a “Turkish bath,” and the heads have their arms around one another, passing the pipe and snapping their fingers as they sing Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks of My Tears” into the night.
  12. (obsolete) Power; armed force.
Quotations
  • For quotations using this term, see Citations:head.
Gallery
Synonyms
  • (part of the body): caput (anatomy); pate, noggin (slang), loaf (slang), nut (slang), noodle (slang), bonce (British slang)
  • (mental aptitude or talent): mind
  • (mental or emotional control): composure, poise
  • (topmost part of anything): top
  • (leader): boss, chief, leader
  • (headmaster, headmistress): headmaster m, headmistress f, principal (US)
  • (toilet of a ship): See Thesaurus:toilet and Thesaurus:bathroom
  • (top of a sail):
  • (foam on carbonated beverages):
  • (fellatio): blowjob, blow job, fellatio, oral sex
  • (end of tool used for striking):
  • (blunt end of fastener):
  • See also Thesaurus:head
Antonyms
  • (topmost part of anything): base, bottom, underside, foot, tail
  • (leader): subordinate, underling
  • (blunt end of fastener): point, sharp end, tip
Usage notes
  • To give something its head is to allow it to run freely. This is used for horses, and, sometimes, figuratively for vehicles.
Derived terms
Descendants
  • Japanese: ヘッド (heddo)
  • Sranan Tongo: ede
Translations

See head/translations § Noun.

Adjective

head (not comparable)

  1. Of, relating to, or intended for the head.
Translations

Verb

head (third-person singular simple present heads, present participle heading, simple past and past participle headed)

  1. (transitive) To be in command of. (See also head up.)
  2. (transitive) To come at the beginning of; to commence.
    A group of clowns headed the procession.
    The most important items headed the list.
  3. (transitive) To strike with the head; as in soccer, to head the ball
  4. (intransitive) To move in a specified direction.
  5. (fishing) To remove the head from a fish.
  6. (intransitive) To originate; to spring; to have its course, as a river.
    • 1775, James Adair, The History of the American Indians, page 223
      a broad purling river, that heads in the great blue ridge of mountains,
  7. (intransitive) To form a head.
  8. (transitive) To form a head to; to fit or furnish with a head.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Edmund Spenser to this entry?)
  9. (transitive) To cut off the top of; to lop off.
  10. (transitive, obsolete) To behead; to decapitate.
    • 1822, Allan Cunningham, “Ezra Peden”, in Traditional Tales of the English and Scottish Peasantry, v. 1, p. 37.
      I tell thee, man of God, the uncharitableness of the sect to which thou pertainest has thronged the land of punishment as much as those who headed, and hanged, and stabbed, and shot, and tortured.
  11. To go in front of.
  12. To get in the front of, so as to hinder or stop; to oppose.
  13. (by extension) To check or restrain.
  14. To set on the head.
Derived terms
Translations
Related terms
  • ahead
  • knucklehead
  • railhead
  • smackhead

Etymology 2

From Middle English hed, heved, heaved, hæfedd, from Old English hēafod- (principal, main, primary), from Proto-Germanic *haubuda-, *haubida-, from Proto-Indo-European *kauput-, *káput- (head). Compare Saterland Frisian hööft-, West Frisian haad-, Dutch hoofd-, German Low German höövd-, German haupt-.

Adjective

head (not comparable)

  1. Foremost in rank or importance.
  2. Placed at the top or the front.
  3. Coming from in front.
Synonyms
  • (foremost in rank or importance): chief, principal
  • (placed at the top or the front): first, top
Antonyms
  • (coming from in front): tail
Translations

Anagrams

  • DHEA, ahed, hade

Estonian

Adjective

head

  1. inflection of hea:
    1. partitive singular
    2. plural


English

Alternative forms

  • principall (obsolete)

Etymology

From Middle English principal, from Old French principal, from Latin prīncipālis.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ˈpɹɪnsɪpəl/, /ˈpɹɪnsəpəl/
  • (US, nonstandard) IPA(key): /ˈpɹɪnsɪp̬əl/, /ˈpɹɪnsəp̬əl/
  • Hyphenation: prin‧ci‧pal
  • Homophone: principle

Adjective

principal (comparative more principal, superlative most principal)

  1. Primary; most important; first level in importance.
    • 1760 [1726], Homer, tr. Alexander Pope, The Odyssey, Volume 2, page 217,
      In a word, the Epiſodes of Homer are complete Epiſodes; they are proper to the ſubject, because they are drawn from the ground of the fable; they are ſo joined to the principal action, that one is the neceſſary conſequence of the other, either truly or probably: and laſtly, they are imperfect members which do not make a complete and finiſhed body; for an Epiſode that makes a complete action, cannot be part of a principal action; as is eſſential to all Epiſodes.
    • 1995, Madeleine Cabos, Baedeker Paris, page 105,
      The principal treasure of ths department, however, is the Stele of Hammurabi (1792—1750 B.C.), king of the first Babylonian kingdom, a basalt cylinder 2.25m/7ft 5in. inscribed with Hammurabi′s laws written in Akkadian in cuneiform script.
    • 2005, Ruth N. Collins, Application of Phylogenetic Algorithms to Assess Rab Functional Relationships, Sidney P. Colowick, Alan Hall (editors), Methods in Enzymology, Volume 403, page 22,
      In theory, there are the same number of principal components as there are variables, but in practice, usually only a few of the principal components need to be identified to account for most of the data variance.
  2. (obsolete, Latinism) Of or relating to a prince; princely.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Edmund Spenser to this entry?)

Usage notes

Principal should not be confused with principle. Principle is always a noun, which is sometimes erroneously used with the meaning of the adjective principal.

  • Incorrect: He is the principle musician in the band
  • Correct: He is the principal musician in the band

A mnemonic to avoid this confusion is “The principal alphabetic principle places A before E“.

Principal is generally not used in the comparative or superlative in formal writing, as the meaning is already superlative. However, like unique, it is sometimes used in this way.

Synonyms

  • (primary): chief, main, primary

Related terms

  • principally

Translations

Noun

principal (countable and uncountable, plural principals)

  1. (finance, uncountable) The money originally invested or loaned, on which basis interest and returns are calculated.
    A portion of your mortgage payment goes to reduce the principal, and the rest covers interest.
    • 1902, William Pember Reeves, State Experiments in Australia and New Zealand, Volume 1, 2011, Cambridge University Press, page 342,
      In March 1902, I find in the statement of liabilities and assets £711 put down as arrears of interest, but there is no entry of arrears of principal.
    • 2012, Denis Clifford, Plan Your Estate, 11th Edition, NOLO, US, page 298,
      For instance, in some states, dividends that have automatically been reinvested will be treated as principal.
    • 2012, Fred Steingold, Legal Forms for Starting & Running a Small Business, page 88,
      If you know the principal amount, the interest rate, and the number of years the payments will be made, you can consult an amortization calculator or schedule to arrive at the monthly payment.
  2. (Canada, US, Australia, New Zealand) The chief administrator of a school.
    • 1971, Louis Kaplan, Education and Mental Health, page 413,
      The important administrative figure to the teacher is the school principal.
    • 2008, Brian Dive, The Accountable Leader: Developing Effective Leadership Through Managerial Accountability, page 212,
      The problem was neatly summed up by one principal in Australia who said recently: ‘There is no incentive for me to develop my best teachers to become my successor. []
    • 2009, Colin J. Marsh, Key Concepts for Understanding Curriculum, page 132,
      Now renamed Teaching Australia, its officers are undertaking exploratory steps in developing professional standards for school leaders. A National Standards Drafting Group of volunteer principals is currently drafting principal standards (Teaching Australia, 2007).
    • 2011, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2011-2012, page 45,
      Principals are now being held more accountable for the performance of students and teachers, while at the same time they are required to adhere to a growing number of government regulations.
  3. (Britain, Canada) The chief executive and chief academic officer of a university or college.
    • 1967, University of Edinburgh Graduates′ Association, University of Edinburgh Journal, Volumes 23-24, page 314,
      Unlike the students, Principal Robertson, who now resided almost alone in the College, continued to use the accistomed route on his visits to the Old Town; and it “became the joke of the day that from being the principal gate it had become only a gate for the Principal.”5
  4. (law) A legal person that authorizes another (the agent) to act on their behalf; or on whose behalf an agent or gestor in a negotiorum gestio acts.
    When an attorney represents a client, the client is the principal who permits the attorney, the client′s agent, to act on the client′s behalf.
    My principal sells metal shims.
    • 1958, American Law Institute. Restatement of the Law, Second: Agency 2d, Volume 7, page 533,
      The firm admitted the amount owed, but averred as an affirmative defense that it had hired the expert as an agent of a disclosed principal, the client.
    • 1966, Pan American Union, The Marketing Structure for Selected Processed Food Products: In Sweden, Denmark, Norway, The Federal Republic of Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom, page 34,
      A food broker has been defined as an independent sales agent who performs the services of negotiating the sale of food and/or grocery products for and on account of the seller as principal.
    • 2009, California Continuing Education of the Bar, California Probate Code, page 375,
      An attorney-in-fact has a duty to act solely in yhe interest of the principal and to avoid conflicts of interest.
  5. (law) The primary participant in a crime.
    • 1915, Eugene Allen Gilmore, Wiliam Charles Wermuth, Modern American Law, page 125,
      The accessories may be prosecuted, tried and punished, though the principal has not been prosecuted or has been acquitted.
  6. (Canada, US) A partner or owner of a business.
  7. (music) A diapason, a type of organ stop on a pipe organ.
  8. (architecture, engineering) The construction that gives shape and strength to a roof, generally a truss of timber or iron; or, loosely, the most important member of a piece of framing.
  9. The first two long feathers of a hawk’s wing.
    • 1856, John Henry Walsh, Manual of British Rural Sports
      The first two feathers – Principals
  10. One of the turrets or pinnacles of waxwork and tapers with which the posts and centre of a funeral hearse were formerly crowned
  11. (obsolete) An essential point or rule; a principle.
  12. A dancer at the highest rank within a professional dance company, particularly a ballet company.
  13. (computing) A security principal.

Usage notes

Principal should not be confused with principle. They are both nouns, but principle means “moral rule”, while principal may refer to a person or entity.

  • Incorrect: He is the principle of our school
  • Correct: He is the principal of our school

Synonyms

  • (original money invested or loaned):
  • (school administrator): headteacher n, headmaster m, headmistress f
  • (chief executive and chief academic officer of a university or college): dean
  • (one under whose direction and on whose behalf an agent acts): client
  • (company represented by a salesperson):
  • (primary participant in a crime): ringleader
  • (owner of or partner in a business): proprietor
  • (organ stop): diapason

Coordinate terms

  • (original money invested or loaned): interest
  • (school administrator): master, mistress
  • (chief executive and chief academic officer of a university or college): bursar
  • (primary participant in a crime): accessory

Related terms

  • principalship

Translations

References

See also

  • PITI payment
  • prince
  • principality
  • principle

Catalan

Etymology

From Latin prīncipālis.

Pronunciation

  • (Balearic, Central, Valencian) IPA(key): /pɾin.siˈpal/

Adjective

principal (masculine and feminine plural principals)

  1. main; principal
    • a partir de l’any 1799 Urgias va ser un dels principals animadors del Parnàs Alguerès

Derived terms

  • principalment

Related terms

  • principalitat
  • principi

Further reading

  • “principal” in Diccionari de la llengua catalana, segona edició, Institut d’Estudis Catalans.

French

Etymology

Borrowed from Latin prīncipālis.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /pʁɛ̃.si.pal/

Adjective

principal (feminine singular principale, masculine plural principaux, feminine plural principales)

  1. main, key, principal

Usage notes

This is one of the French adjectives that can occur either before or after the noun. When located before the noun, the adjective is more strongly emphasized.

Derived terms

  • conseiller principal d’éducation
  • plat principal
  • principalement
  • séquence principale

Noun

principal m (plural principaux, feminine principale)

  1. someone or something which is important, key, paramount
  2. principal (school administrator)
  3. (finance) principal (the money originally invested or loaned)

Further reading

  • “principal” in Trésor de la langue française informatisé (The Digitized Treasury of the French Language).

Galician

Pronunciation

Adjective

principal m or f (plural principais)

  1. main, principal

Related terms

  • principalmente

Occitan

Pronunciation

Adjective

principal m (feminine singular principala, masculine plural principals, feminine plural principalas)

  1. main, principal

Portuguese

Etymology

From Latin principālis (first; principal), from prīncipium (beginning).

Pronunciation

  • Hyphenation: pri‧ci‧pal
  • Rhymes: -al, -aw

Adjective

principal m or f (plural principais, comparable)

  1. main; principal (most important)
    Synonym: primário
  2. fundamental; essential
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:importante, Thesaurus:importante
  3. (astronomy, of a heavenly body) having another body orbiting it
    Synonym: primário
  4. (grammar, of a sentence) not subordinate

Quotations

For quotations using this term, see Citations:principal.

Antonyms

  • (main): secundário
  • (fundamental): See Thesaurus:importante
  • (having another body orbiting it): orbitante
  • (said of a sentence which is not subordinate): subordinado

Noun

principal m (plural principais)

  1. prelate of a religious, educational or commercial institution
    Synonyms: diretor, prelado

Quotations

For quotations using this term, see Citations:principal.

Related terms

  • principalidade
  • principalmente
  • príncipe
  • princípio

Romanian

Etymology

From French principal, from Latin principalis.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /prin.t͡ʃiˈpal/

Adjective

principal m or n (feminine singular principală, masculine plural principali, feminine and neuter plural principale)

  1. principal, primary, chief, foremost

Declension

Synonyms

  • central

Antonyms

  • secundar

Spanish

Etymology

From Latin principālis.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): (Spain) /pɾinθiˈpal/, [pɾĩn̟.θiˈpal]
  • IPA(key): (Latin America) /pɾinsiˈpal/, [pɾĩn.siˈpal]
  • Hyphenation: prin‧ci‧pal

Adjective

principal (plural principales)

  1. main, most important
  2. essential

Derived terms

Noun

principal m (plural principales)

  1. chief, boss

Related terms

  • principio
  • principe

Swedish

Noun

principal c

  1. a principal; one who directs another (the agent) to act on one’s behalf

Declension

See also

  • princip
  • principiell

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