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PRINCE, n. [prins; Fr. id.; It. and Sp. principe; L. princeps; D. prins; G. prinz; Arm. prinç. This word is probably compounded of primus, corrupted, as the Gr. πριν, and ceps, head, Fr. chef; or perhaps of the Celtic Breen, summit, whence W. brenin, king, an exalted one, and ceps. Hence Brennus, the name of a celebrated Gaulish commander. In Pers., پَرِيَنْ barin signifies lofty, or one elevated in place or office.]

  1. In a general sense, a sovereign; the chief and independent ruler of a nation or state. Thus when we speak of the princes of Europe, we include emperors and kings. Hence, a chief in general; as, a prince of the celestial host. – Milton.
  2. A sovereign in a certain territory; one who has the government of a particular state or territory, but holds of a superior to whom he owes certain services; as, the princes of the German states.
  3. The son of a king or emperor, or the issue of a royal family; as, princes of the blood. In England, the eldest son of the king is created prince of Wales. – Encyc.
  4. The chief of any body of men. – Peacham.
  5. A chief or ruler of either sex. Queen Elizabeth is called by Camden prince, but this application is unusual and harsh. Prince of the senate, in ancient Rome, was the person first called in the roll of senators. He was always of consular and censorian dignity. – Encyc. In Scripture, this name prince is given to God, Dan. viii.; to Christ, who is called the Prince of peace, Is. ix. and the Prince of life, Acts iii.; to the chief of the priests, the prince of the sanctuary, Is. xliii.; to the Roman emperor, Dan. ix.; to men of superior worth and excellence, Eccles. x.; to nobles, counselors and officers of a kingdom, Is. x.; to the chief men of families or tribes, Num. xvii.; to Satan, who is called the prince of this world, John xii. and prince of the power of the air, Eph. ii.

PRINCE, v.i.

To play the prince; to take state. – Shak.

PRINCE-DOM, n. [prins'dom.]

The jurisdiction, sovereignty, rank or estate of a prince. Under thee, as head supreme, / Thrones, princedoms, powers, dominions, I reduce. – Milton.

PRINCE-LIKE, a. [prins'like.]

Becoming a prince. – Shak.

PRINCE-LI-NESS, n. [prins'liness. from princely.]

The state, manner or dignity of a prince. – Sherwood.

PRINCE-LY, a. [prinsly.]

  1. Resembling a prince; having the appearance of one high born; stately; dignified; as, a princely gentleman; a princely youth. – Shak.
  2. Having the rank of princes; as a man of princely birth; a princely dame. – Sidney. Waller.
  3. Becoming a prince; royal; grand; august; as, a princely gift; princely virtues. – Shak. Waller.
  4. Very large; as, a princely fortune.
  5. Magnificent; rich; as, a princely entertainment.

PRINCE-LY, adv. [prins'ly.]

In a princelike manner. – Johnson.


A plant of the genus Amaranthus. – Fam. of Plants.

PRINCE'S-METAL, n. [Prince's metal.]

A mixture of copper and zink, in imitation of gold. – Encyc.


  1. A female sovereign, as an empress or queen. – Dryden.
  2. A sovereign lady of rank next to that of a queen. – Johnson.
  3. The daughter of a king. – Shak.
  4. The consort of a prince; as, the princess of Wales.


In the manner of a princess. – Byron.

PRIN'CI-PAL, a. [Fr. from L. 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 xxv. 1 Chron. xxiv.
  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. – Prov. iv.
  3. In law, at principal challenge, is where the cause assigned carries with it prima facie evidence of partiality, favor or malice. – Blackstone.
  4. In music, fundamental.


  1. A chief or head; one who takes the lend; as, the principal of a faction, an insurrection or mutiny.
  2. The president, governor, or chief in authority. We apply the word to the chief instructor of an academy or seminary of learning.
  3. 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. – Blackstone.
  4. 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 principal. – Swift.
  5. One primarily engaged; a chief party; in distinction from an auxiliary. We were not principals but auxiliaries in the war. – Swift.
  6. In music, an organ stop.

PRIN-CI-PAL'I-TY, n. [Fr. principalité.]

  1. Sovereignty; supreme power. – Sidney. Spenser.
  2. A prince; one invested with sovereignty. – Tit. iii.
  3. The territory of a prince; or the country which gives title to a prince; as, the principality of Wales.
  4. Superiority; predominance. [Little used.] – Taylor.
  5. In Scripture, royal state or attire. – Jer. xiii.


Chiefly; above all. They mistake the nature of criticism, who think its business is principally to find fault. – Dryden.


The state of being principal or chief.


Principality; supreme rule. – Barrow.

PRIN-CIP'I-A, n. [plur. L. principium.]

First principles. – Ash.


  1. Beginning; taking first. – Taylor.
  2. Relating to principles or beginnings.

PRIN-CIP-I-A'TION, n. [from L. principium.]

Analysis into constituent or elemental parts. [Not used.] – Bacon.

PRIN'CI-PLE, n. [It. principio; Fr. principe; L. principium, beginning.]

  1. In a general sense, the cause, source or origin of any thing; that from which a thing proceeds; as, the principle of motion; the principles of action. – Dryden.
  2. Element; constituent part; primordial substance. Modern philosophers suppose matter to be one simple principle, or solid extension diversified by its various shapes. – Watts.
  3. Being that produces any thing; operative cause. The soul of man is an active principle. – Tillotson.
  4. In science, a truth admitted either without proof, or considered as having been before proved. In the former sense it is synonymous with axiom; in the latter, with the phrase, established principle.
  5. Ground; foundation; that which supports an assertion, an action, or a series of actions or of reasoning. On what principle can this be affirmed or denied? He justifies his proceedings on the principle of expedience or necessity. He reasons on sound principles.
  6. A general truth; a law comprehending many subordinate truths; as, the principles of morality, of law, of government, &c.
  7. Tenet; that which is believed, whether truth or not, but which serves as a rule of action or the basis of a system, the principles of the Stoics, or of the Epicureans.
  8. A principle of human nature, is a law of action in human beings; a constitutional propensity common to the human species. Thus it is a principle of human nature to resent injuries and repel insults.


  1. To establish or fix in tenets; to impress with any tenet, good or ill; chiefly used in the participle. Men have been principled with an opinion, that they must not consult reason an things of religion. – Locke.
  2. To establish firmly in the mind. – Locke.


Established in opinion or in tenets; firmly fixed in the mind.


Establishing firmly in the mind.

PRIN'COCK, or PRIN'COX, n. [Qu. prink or prim and cock.]

A coxcomb; a conceited person; a pert young rogue; a ludicrous word. [Little used.] – Shak.