n. Abbr. R.
1. A cleric in charge of a parish in the Episcopal Church.
2. An Anglican parish priest in a parish where historically the priest was entitled to the tithes.
3. A Roman Catholic priest appointed to be managerial as well as spiritual head of a church or other institution, such as a seminary or university.
4. The principal of certain schools, colleges, and universities.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin rēctor, director, from , rēctus past participle of regere, to rule; see reg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
rector·ate (-ĭt) n.
rec·tori·al (rĕk-tôrē-əl) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.