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7 definitions found
 for principal
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Principal \Prin"ci*pal\, n.
     1. A leader, chief, or head; one who takes the lead; one who
        acts independently, or who has controlling authority or
        influence; as, the principal of a faction, a school, a
        firm, etc.; -- distinguished from a subordinate,
        abettor, auxiliary, or assistant.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. Hence: (Law)
        (a) The chief actor in a crime, or an abettor who is
            present at it, -- as distinguished from an accessory.
        (b) A chief obligor, promisor, or debtor, -- as
            distinguished from a surety.
        (c) One who employs another to act for him, -- as
            distinguished from an agent. --Wharton. --Bouvier.
            [1913 Webster]
     3. A thing of chief or prime importance; something
        fundamental or especially conspicuous. Specifically:
        (a) (Com.) A capital sum of money, placed out at interest,
            due as a debt or used as a fund; -- so called in
            distinction from interest or profit.
        (b) (Arch. & Engin.) The construction which gives shape
            and strength to a roof, -- generally a truss of timber
            or iron, but there are roofs with stone principals.
            Also, loosely, the most important member of a piece of
        (c) (Mus.) In English organs the chief open metallic stop,
            an octave above the open diapason. On the manual it is
            four feet long, on the pedal eight feet. In Germany
            this term corresponds to the English open diapason.
        (d) (O. Eng. Law) A heirloom; a mortuary. --Cowell.
        (e) pl. The first two long feathers of a hawk's wing.
            --Spenser. --J. H. Walsh.
        (f) One of turrets or pinnacles of waxwork and tapers with
            which the posts and center of a funeral hearse were
            formerly crowned. --Oxf. Gloss.
        (g) A principal or essential point or rule; a principle.
            [1913 Webster]

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Principal \Prin"ci*pal\, a. [F., from L. principalis. See
     1. Highest in rank, authority, character, importance, or
        degree; most considerable or important; chief; main; as,
        the principal officers of a Government; the principal men
        of a state; the principal productions of a country; the
        principal arguments in a case.
        [1913 Webster]
              Wisdom is the principal thing.        --Prov. iv. 7.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. Of or pertaining to a prince; princely. [A Latinism]
        [Obs.] --Spenser.
        [1913 Webster]
     Principal axis. See Axis of a curve, under Axis.
     Principal axes of a quadric (Geom.), three lines in which
        the principal planes of the solid intersect two and two,
        as in an ellipsoid.
     Principal challenge. (Law) See under Challenge.
     Principal plane. See Plane of projection
        (a), under Plane.
     Principal of a quadric (Geom.), three planes each of which
        is at right angles to the other two, and bisects all
        chords of the quadric perpendicular to the plane, as in an
     Principal point (Persp.), the projection of the point of
        sight upon the plane of projection.
     Principal ray (Persp.), the line drawn through the point of
        sight perpendicular to the perspective plane.
     Principal section (Crystallog.), a plane passing through
        the optical axis of a crystal.
        [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      adj 1: most important element; "the chief aim of living"; "the
             main doors were of solid glass"; "the principal rivers of
             America"; "the principal example"; "policemen were
             primary targets"; "the master bedroom"; "a master switch"
             [syn: chief(a), main(a), primary(a),
             principal(a), master(a)]
      n 1: the original amount of a debt on which interest is
      2: the educator who has executive authority for a school; "she
         sent unruly pupils to see the principal" [syn: principal,
         school principal, head teacher, head]
      3: an actor who plays a principal role [syn: star,
         principal, lead]
      4: capital as contrasted with the income derived from it [syn:
         principal, corpus, principal sum]
      5: (criminal law) any person involved in a criminal offense,
         regardless of whether the person profits from such
      6: the major party to a financial transaction at a stock
         exchange; buys and sells for his own account [syn:
         principal, dealer]

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  203 Moby Thesaurus words for "principal":
     A per se, English horn, academic dean, ace, administration,
     administrator, all-absorbing, arch, assets, backing, banner,
     bassoon, block flute, bombard, boss, bourdon, capital,
     capital gains distribution, capital structure, capitalization,
     cardinal, cash reserves, cello, central, chairman, champion,
     chancellor, chief, chief executive officer, circulating capital,
     claribel, clarinet, clarion, commander, concert flute, controlling,
     cornet, cornopean, corpus, cromorna, crowning, cymbel,
     danseur noble, dean, dean of men, dean of women, diapason,
     director, diva, dominant, doyen, doyenne, dulciana,
     electronics king, equity capital, feature attraction, first,
     first tragedian, fixed capital, floating capital, flute stop,
     focal, foremost, foundation stop, fourniture, front, fugleman,
     fund, gamba, gedeckt, gemshorn, genius, great, harmonic flute,
     head, headliner, headmaster, headmistress, headmost, heavy lead,
     hegemonic, hero, heroine, high priest, higher-up, highest, honcho,
     hybrid stop, important, important person, investment,
     jeune premier, key, king, kingfish, kingpin, koppel flute, larigot,
     laureate, lead, leader, leading, leading lady, leading light,
     leading man, luminary, magisterial, maiden, main, major,
     managing director, master, master spirit, melodia, mixture, money,
     moneyed capital, mutation stop, nazard, nonpareil, oboe, octave,
     organ stop, outstanding, overriding, overruling, owner, paragon,
     paramount, personage, piccolo, plein jeu, posaune, predominant,
     preeminent, premier, preponderant, president, prevailing,
     prima ballerina, prima donna, primal, primary, prime, prodigy,
     prominent, proprietor, protagonist, provost, quint, quintaten,
     rank, ranket, ranking, rector, reed stop, register, resources,
     rohr flute, ruler, ruling, senior, sesquialtera, shawm, singer,
     sovereign, spitz flute, star, starring, stellar, stop,
     stopped diapason, stopped flute, string diapason, string stop,
     supereminent, superintendent, superior, superman, superstar,
     supervisor, supreme, the greatest, the most, tierce, top dog,
     topflight, topmost, tremolo, trombone, trumpet, twelfth,
     unda maris, uppermost, venture capital, vibrato, vice-chancellor,
     viola, virtuoso, voix celeste, vox angelica, vox humana,
     working capital

From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856) :

  PRINCIPAL. This word has several meanings. It is used in opposition to 
  accessary, to show the degree of crime committed by two persons; thus, we 
  say, the principal is more guilty than the accessary after the fact. 
       2. In estates, principal is used as opposed to incident or accessory; 
  as in the following rule: "the incident shall pass by the grant of the 
  principal, but not the principal by the grant of the incident. Accessorium 
  non ducit, sed sequitur suum principale." Co. Litt. 152, a. 
       3. It is used in opposition to agent, and in this sense it signifies 
  that the principal is the prime mover. 
       4. It is used in opposition to interest; as, the principal being 
  secured tho interest will follow. 
       5. It is used also in opposition to surety; thus, we say the principal 
  is answerable before the surety. 
       6. Principal is used also to denote the more important; as, the 
  principal person. 
       7. In the English law, the chief person in some of the inns of chancery 
  is called principal of the house. Principal is also used to designate the 
  best of many things as, the best bed, the best table, and the like. 

From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856) :

  PRINCIPAL, contracts. One who, being competent to contract, and who is sui 
  juris, employs another to do any act for his own benefit, or on his own 
       2. As a general rule, it may be said, that every person, sui juris, is 
  capable of being a principal, for in all cases where a man has power as 
  owner, or in his own right to do anything, he may do it by another. 16 John. 
  86; 9 Co. 75; Com. Dig. Attorney, C 1; Heinec. ad Pand. P. 1, lib. 3, tit. 
  Sec. 424. 
       3. Married women, and persons who are deprived of understanding, as 
  idiots, lunatics, and others, not sui juris, are wholly incapable of 
  entering into any contract, and, consequently, cannot appoint an agent. 
  Infants and married women are generally, incapable but, under special 
  circumstances, they may make such appointments. For instance, an infant may 
  make an attorney, when it is for his benefit; but lie cannot enter into any 
  contract which is to his prejudice. Com. Dig. Enfant, C 2; Perk. 13; 9 Co. 
  75; 3 Burr. 1804. A married woman cannot, in general, appoint an agent or 
  attorney, and when it is requisite that one should be appointed, the husband 
  generally appoints for both. Perhaps for her separate property she may, with 
  her husband, appoint an agent or attorney; Cro. Car. 165,; 2 Leon. 200; 2 
  Bulst. R. 13; but this seems to be doubted. Cro. Jac. 617; Yelv. 1; 1 
  Brownl. 134; 2 Brownl. 248; Adams' Ej. 174; Runn. Ej. 148. 
       4. A principal has rights which he can enforce, and is liable to 
  obligations which he must perform. These will be briefly considered: 1. The 
  rights to which principals are entitled arise from obligations due to them 
  by their agents, or by third persons. 
       5.-1st. The rights against their agents, are, 1. To call them to an 
  account at all times, in relation to the business of their agency. 2. When 
  the agent violates his obligations to his principal, either by exceeding his 
  authority, or by positive misconduct, or by mere negligence or omissions in 
  the discharge of the functions of his agency, or in any other manner, and 
  any loss or damage falls on his principal, the latter will be entitled to 
  full indemnity. Paley on Ag. by Lloyd, 7, 71, 74, and note 2 12 Pick. 328; 1 
  B. & Adolph. 415; 1 Liverm. Ag. 398. 3. The principal has a right to 
  supersede his agent, where each may maintain a suit against a third person, 
  by suing in his own name; and he may, by his own intervention, intercept, 
  suspend, or extinguish the right of the agent under the contract. Paley Ag. 
  by Lloyd, 362; 7 Taunt. 237, 243; 1 M. & S. 576 1 Liverm. Ag. 226-228; 2 W. 
  C. C. R. 283; 3 Chit. Com. Law, 201-203. 
       6.-2d. The principal's rights against third persons. 1. When a contract 
  is made by the agent with a third person in the name of his principal, the 
  latter may enforce it by action. But to this rule there are some exceptions 
  1st. When the instrument is under seal, and it has been exclusively made 
  between the agent and the third person; as, for example, a charter party or 
  bottomry bond in this case the principal cannot sue on it. See 1 Paine, Cir. 
  R. 252; 3 W. C. C. R. 560; 1 M. &. S. 573; Abbott, Ship, pt. 3, c. 1, s. 2. 
  2d. When an exclusive credit is given to and by the agent, and therefore the 
  principal cannot be considered in any manner a party to the contract, 
  although he may have authorized it, and be entitled to all the benefits 
  arising from it. The case of a foreign factor, buying or selling goods, is 
  an example of this kind: he is treated as between himself and the other 
  party, as the sole contractor, and the real principal cannot sue or be sued 
  on the contract. This, it has been well observed, is a general rule of 
  commercial law, founded upon the known usage of trade; and it is strictly 
  adhered to for the safety and convenience of foreign commerce. Story, Ag. 
  Sec. 423; Smith Mer. Law, 66; 15 East, R. 62; 9 B. & C. 87. 3d. When the 
  agent, has a lien or claim upon the property bought or sold, or upon its 
  proceeds, when it equals or exceeds the amount of its value. Story, Ag. Sec. 
  407, 408, 424. 
       7.-2. But contracts are not unfrequently made without mentioning the 
  name of the principal; in such case he may avail himself of the agreement, 
  for the contract will be treated as that of the principal, as well as of the 
  agent. Story, Ag. Sec. 109, 111, 403, 410, 417, 440; Paley, Ag. by Lloyd, 
  21, 22; Marsh. Ins. b. 1, c. 8, Sec. 3, p. 311; 2 Kent's Com. 3d edit. 630; 
  3 Chit. Com. Law, 201; vide 1 Paine's C. C. Rep. 252. 
       8.-3. Third persons are also liable to the principal for any tort or 
  injury done to his property or rights in the course of the agency. Pal. Ag. 
  by Lloyd, 363; Story, Ag. Sec. 436; 3 Chit. Com. Law, 205, 206; 15 East, R. 
       9.-2. The liabilities of the principal are either to his agent or to 
  third persons. 
      10.-1st. The liabilities of the principal to his agent, are, 1. To 
  reimburse him all expenses he may have lawfully incurred about the agency. 
  Story, Ag. Sec. 335 Story, Bailm. Sec. 196, 197; 2 Liv. Ag. 11 to 33. 
       2. To pay him his commissions as agreed upon, or according to the usage 
  of trade, except in cases of gratuitous agency. Story, Ag. Sec. 323; Story, 
  Bailm. 153, 154, 196 to 201. 3. To indemnify the agent when he has sustained 
  damages in consequence of the principal's conduct for example, when the 
  agent has innocently sold the goods of a third person, under the direction 
  or authority of his principal, and a third person recovers damages against 
  the agent, the latter will be entitled to reimbursement from the principal. 
  Pal. Ag. by Lloyd, 152, 301; 2 John. Cas. 54; 17 John. 142; 14 Pick. 174. 
      11.-2d. The liabilities of the principal to third persons, are, 1. To 
  fulfill all the engagements made by the agent, for or in the name of the 
  principal, and which come within the scope of his authority. Story, Ag. Sec. 
       2. When a man stands by and permits another to do an act in his name, 
  his authority will be presumed. Vide Authority, and 2 Kent, Com. 3d edit. 
  614; Story, Ag. Sec. 89, 90, 91; and articles Assent; Consent. 
       3. The principal is liable to third persons for the misfeasance, 
  negligence, or omission of duty of his agent; but he has a remedy over 
  against the agent, when the injury has occurred in consequence of his 
  misconduct or culpable neglect; Story, Ag. Sec. 308; Paley, Ag. by Lloyd, 
  152, 3; 1 Metc. 560; 1 B. Mont. 292; 5 B. Monr. 25; 9 W. & S. 72; 8 Pick. 
  23; 6 Gill & John. 292; 4 Q. B. 298; 1 Hare & Wall. Sel. Dee. 467; Dudl. So. 
  Car. R. 265, 268; 5 Humph. 397; 2 Murph. 389; 1 Ired. 240; but the principal 
  is not liable for torts committed by the agent without authority. 5 Humph. 
  397; 2 Murph. 389; 19 Wend. 343; 2  Metc. 853. A principal is also liable 
  for the misconduct of a sub-agent, when retained by his direction, either 
  express or implied. 1 B. & P. 404; 15 East, 66. 
      12. The general, rule, that a principal cannot be charged with injuries 
  committed by his agent without his assent, admits of one exception, for 
  reasons of policy. A sheriff is liable, even under a penal statute, for all 
  injurious acts, willful or negligent, done by his appointed officers, colore 
  officii, when charged and deputed by him to execute the law. The sheriff is, 
  therefore, liable where his deputy wrongfully executes a writ; Dougl. 40; or 
  where he takes illegal fees. 2 E. N. P. C. 585. 
      13. But the principal may be liable for his agent's misconduct, when he 
  has agreed, either expressly or by implication, to be so liable. 8 T. R. 
  531; 2 Cas. N. P. C. 42. Vide Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.; Agency; Agent. 

From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856) :

  PRINCIPAL, crim. law. A principal is one who is the actor in the commission 
  of a crime. 
       2. Principals are of two kinds; namely, 1. Principals in the first 
  degree, are those who have actually with their own hands committed the fact, 
  or have committed it through an innocent agent incapable himself, of doing 
  so; as an example of the latter kind, may be mentioned the case of a person 
  who incites a child wanting discretion, or a person non compos, to the 
  commission of murder, or any other crime, the incitor, though absent, when 
  the crime was committed, is, ex necessitate, liable for the acts of his 
  agent and is a principal in the first degree. Fost. 340; 1 East, P. C. 118; 
  1 Hawk. c. 31, s. 7; 1 N. R. 92; 2 Leach, 978. It is not requisite that each 
  of the principals should be present at the entire transaction. 2 East, P. C. 
  767. For example, where several persons agree to forge an instrument, and 
  each performs some part of the forgery in pursuance of the common plan, each 
  is principal in the forgery, although one may be away when it is signed. R. 
  & R. C. C. 304; Mo. C. C. 304, 307. 
       3.-2. Principals in the second degree, are those who were present 
  aiding and abetting the commission of the fact. They are generally termed 
  aiders and abettors, and sometimes, improperly, accomplices. (q.v.) The 
  presence which is required in order to make a man principal in the second 
  degree, need not be a strict actual, immediate presence, such a presence as 
  would make him an eye or ear witness of what passes, but may be a 
  constructive presence. It must be such as may be sufficient to afford aid 
  and assistance to the principal in the first degree. 9 Pick. R. 496; 1 
  Russell, 21; Foster, 350. 
       4. It is evident from the definition that to make a wan a principal, he 
  must be an actor in the commission of the crime and, therefore, if a man 
  happen merely to be present when a felony is committed without taking any 
  part in it or aiding those who do, he will not, for that reason, be 
  considered a principal. 1 Hale, P. C. 439; Foster, 350. 

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