Definition of panjandrum in English:

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Pronunciation: /panˈdʒandrəm/


A person who has or claims to have a great deal of authority or influence: the greatest scientific panjandrum of the 19th century [as title]: the Great Panjandrum of this exercise is a management consultant
More example sentences
  • The jobs of chairman and director-general are usually bestowed upon people of epic self-importance, panjandrums who consider themselves to be famous and have indeed achieved much greatness in their respective spheres.
  • Now get this straight, this is a man who has over the decades put himself forward as the adjudicator of honest, straight news reporting (the profession's panjandrums I've noticed over the years love to shower him with awards).
  • After the 2000 election, the panjandrums of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council ascribed Vice President Al Gore's failure to win the presidency to his ‘business-bashing populism.’


Late 19th century: from Grand Panjandrum, an invented phrase in a nonsense verse (1755) by S. Foote.

  • This term for a pompous person is one of the few words we can say when, how, and by whom it was invented. It was coined in 1755 by the English actor and playwright Samuel Foote (1720–77) in response to the actor Charles Macklin's claim that he could memorize and repeat anything said to him. The word was part of a string of nonsense that went ‘And there were present the Picninnies, and the Joblillies, and the Garyulies, and the Grand Panjandrum himself, with the little round button at top’.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pan|jan|drum

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