principal ADJECTIVE 1) first in order of importance; main. 2) denoting an original sum of money invested or lent.
NOUN 1) the most important person in an organization or group. 2) the head of a school or college. 3) a sum of money lent or invested, on which interest is paid. 4) a person for whom another acts as a representative. 5) Law a person directly responsible for a crime.
DERIVATIVES principalship noun.
USAGE The words principal and principle are pronounced in the same way but they do not have the same meaning. Principal is normally an adjective meaning ‘main or most important’, whereas principle is normally used as a noun meaning ‘a basis of a system of thought or belief’.
ORIGIN Latin principalis 'first, original' , from princeps 'first, chief' .

English terms dictionary. 2015.

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