Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An officer who manages the household of a sovereign or noble; a chief steward.
  • n. A high-ranking official in various royal courts.
  • n. An official who receives the rents and fees of a municipality; a treasurer.
  • n. Roman Catholic Church An often honorary papal attendant.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An officer in charge of managing the household of a sovereign, especially in the United Kingdom and in Denmark.
  • n. A high officer of state, as currently with the papal camerlengo, but normally now a mainly honorary title.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An officer or servant who has charge of a chamber or chambers.
  • n. An upper servant of an inn.
  • n. An officer having the direction and management of the private chambers of a nobleman or monarch; hence, in Europe, one of the high officers of a court.
  • n. A treasurer or receiver of public money

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A person charged with the direction and management of a chamber or chambers.
  • n. An officer charged with the direction and management of the private apartments of a monarch or nobleman. The lord great chamberlain of Great Britain is the sixth officer of the crown. His functions, always important, have varied in different reigns. The duties which now devolve upon him are the robing and attending on the king at his coronation; the care of the ancient palace of Westminster; the provision of furniture for the houses of Parliament, and for Westminster Hall when used on great occasions; and attending upon peers at their creation, and upon bishops when they perform their homage. The office is now jointly held by the families of Cholmondeley and Willoughby de Eresby, and the honors are enjoyed in each alternate reign by each family successively. The office of lord chamberlain of the household, generally called simply the lord chamberlain, is quite distinct from that of the lord great chamberlain, and is changed with the administration. This officer has the control of all parts of the household (except the ladies of the queen's bedchamber) which are not under the direction of the lord steward, the groom of the stole, or the master of the horse. The king's (queen's) chaplains, physicians, surgeons, etc., as well as the royal tradesmen, are in his appointment; the companies of actors at the royal theaters are under his regulation; and he is also the licenser of plays. He has under him a vice-chamberlain.
  • n. Originally, the keeper of the treasure-chamber; hence, a receiver of rents and revenues; a treasurer: as, the chamberlain of a corporation.
  • n. In Great Britain, the factor or high steward of a nobleman or great landed proprietor.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. British statesman who as Prime Minister pursued a policy of appeasement toward fascist Germany (1869-1940)
  • n. the treasurer of a municipal corporation
  • n. an officer who manages the household of a king or nobleman

Etymologies

Middle English chaumberlein, from Old French chamberlenc, from Frankish *kamerling : Late Latin camera, chamber; see chamber + Germanic *-linga-, one connected with; see -ling1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Anglo-Norman chamberlenc, Old French chamberlayn, chamberlenc ("chamberlain"), from Frankish *kamerling (“chamberlain”), equivalent to *kamer (“chamber”) + *-ling (“-ling”). Cognate with Old High German chamarling ("chamberlain"). More at chamber, -ling. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • May 19, 2004 at 10: 19 AM totally assumed it was richard chamberlain from the thornbirds and thought to myself "damn, he sure has fallen to low places" i crack myself up sometimes.

    Smear Tactic

  • So she called her chamberlain apart, and said, "Tell me truly, hast thou not often heard speak of that fair knight, Sir Graelent, whose praise is in all men's mouths?"

    French Mediaeval Romances from the Lays of Marie de France

  • Then he called his chamberlain, Messer Traiano, and bade him bring five hundred golden ducats of the Camera.

    The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini

  • ” Then he called his chamberlain, Messer Traiano, and bade him bring five hundred golden ducats of the Camera.

    XLIV

  • Therewith he called the chamberlain, who bore a wax light before him to his chamber, and he did off his raiment and cast himself on his bed, and fell asleep straightway, before he knew where Roger was sleeping, whether it were in the hall or some place else.

    The Well at the World's End: a tale

  • Messire Thibault arose, and found him somewhat heavy, wherefore he called his chamberlain, and said: "Arise now, and do our meyney to truss and go their ways, and thou shalt abide with me and truss our harness: for I am somewhat heavy and ill at ease."

    Old French Romances

  • So one night, when the fair maiden was fast asleep, he tied one of her tresses to his arm, that she might not escape; then he called a chamberlain, and bidding him light the candles, he saw the flower of beauty, the miracle of women, the looking-glass and painted egg of Venus, the fair bait of

    Pentamerone. English

  • “His Excellency the French Ambassador,” called the chamberlain.

    The Tudors: King Takes Queen

  • “Their Gracious Majesties,” called the chamberlain, pounding his staff on the floor and bringing all conversation to a halt.

    The Tudors: King Takes Queen

  • Straightway he called the chamberlain and said: "That boy whom thou hast killed is the son of my beloved and the darling of my beauty!

    Flowers from a Persian Garden and Other Papers

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "The three chamberlains talked quietly by the pedestal while the rest babbled in clusters on the bench." - 'Lanark', Alasdair Gray.

    December 4, 2007