czar (zär, tsär)
1. also tsar or tzar (zär, tsär) A male monarch or emperor, especially one of the emperors who ruled Russia until the revolution of 1917.
2. A person having great power or authority: an energy czar.
[Russian tsar', from Old Russian tsĭsarĭ, emperor, king, from Old Church Slavonic tsěsarĭ, from Gothic kaisar, from Greek, from Latin Caesar, emperor; see CAESAR.]
Usage Note: The word czar, a borrowing from Russian originally referring to the emperor of Russia, is a cousin of the German word Kaiser; both words descend from the name of the Roman emperor Julius Caesar. The spelling tsar is preferred in most Slavic scholarship, as it follows the standard conventions of Russian transliteration. The spelling czar is the more common form in American English, and is the only one employed in the extended sense "someone in authority," as in energy czar.
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
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