from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An important or self-important person.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An imaginary personage of much power or pretension; a burlesque potentate, plenipotentiary, or Great Mogul.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An important, powerful or influential person.
  • noun A self-important or pretentious person.
  • noun military A massive, rocket-propelled, explosive-laden cart designed by the British military during World War II.

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

  • noun an important or influential (and often overbearing) person


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

[After the Grand Panjandrum, a character in a nonsense farrago written by Samuel Foote (1720–1777).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Coined as a nonce word in the 18th century by Samuel Foote.


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  • Some in the French press and even a French government minister are suggesting that the 62-year-old Socialist Party panjandrum may have been set up by his rivals.

    The Strauss-Kahn Charges 2011

  • Labour's Denis MacShane asked her to confirm that "this great panjandrum, Lord Davies, who is going to get more women on to boards, is a man?"

    Sex at work: May rules MP offside | Simon Hoggart's sketch 2011

  • For there rose in his pomp Sir Peter Tapsell, the Father of the House, and a panjandrum who makes the average double-breasted MP look like Norman Wisdom on a bad day.

    Comprehensive spending review: Now for the bonfire of the civilians Simon Hoggart 2010

  • On Monday the Rugby Football Union's outgoing grand panjandrum pointed out that his current contract is only for six months, which may mean that he is not entitled to the reported extra £250,000 for his part in creating a record profit of £8.7m for the governing body in the most recent financial year.

    Wales must keep faith with Gary Speed's youthful legacy | Richard Williams 2011

  • Even though Marina begins to succumb to the narcosis of the jungle, she senses that she is being groomed to replace Dr. Swenson as chief researcher and tribal panjandrum.

    Overseas and On Edge 2011

  • And busy Americans have never been fussy about the qualifications of even the most exotic panjandrum.

    Magic and Mayhem Derek Leebaert 2010

  • To help them, the committee heard from Dr Malcolm Jack, the clerk of the house, and the grandest panjandrum in the palace.

    MPs putting Dr Malcolm Jack on the rack over phone hack Simon Hoggart 2010

  • Canada is a famous underperformer in the creation of interesting news, so much so that the New Republic once pronounced “Worthwhile Canadian Initiative” (the actual title of a column by the late New York Times panjandrum Flora Lewis) the most boring headline in human history.

    Matthew Yglesias » Worthwhile Canadian Initiative? 2008

  • The great panjandrum maintains that no deal has been signed with any channel.

    Mandelson's video diary 2010

  • The great panjandrum maintains that no deal has been signed with any channel.

    Gordon Brown, Charlie Whelan and Me 2010


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  • Just popped into my head while looking at my Gmail contacts list. I think it may have been my sleep-deprived brain sticking together parts of different names, but the more I think about it, the less I can be sure which ones.

    February 3, 2008

  • Often humorous. John Donovan is the grand panjandrum of fabricated Turkish proverbs on all subjects.

    July 12, 2009

  • This word was used in the movie "The Man Who Would Be King."

    June 19, 2012

  • WORD: panjandrum


    ' Regardless of how much he thought of himself, no flight surgeon dared position himself above the pilots in his squadron in the way he conducted himself before them: i.e., it was hard for him to be a consummate panjandrum, the way the typical civilian doctor was. '

    --- 1979. TOM WOLFEThe Right Stuff. "Chapter 4 -- The Lab Rat." (Page 78). Bantam Book edition 
    <b>ETYMOLOGY:</b> "<a href="">The Grand Panjandrum</a>" is an expression which dramatist <a href="">Samuel Foote</a> coined in 1755, a pseudo-lordly title he inserted into a paragraph of nonsense words he had composed for the sole purpose of testing the self-proclaimed memorization skills of the actor <a href="">Charles Macklin</a>.

    January 17, 2014