(The ). The office of chief magistrate in a corporate
Below the chair.
An alderman who has not yet served the mayoralty.
Passed the chair.
One who has served the chief office of the corporation. The word is
also applied to the office of a professor, etc., as “The chair of
poetry, in Oxford, is now vacant.” The word is furthermore applied to
the president of a committee or public meeting. Hence—
To take the chair.
To become the chairman or president of a public meeting. The
chairman is placed in a chair at the head of the table, or in some
conspicuous place like the Speaker of the House of Commons, and his
decision is absolutely final in all points of doubt. Usually the
persons present nominate and elect their own chairman; but in some
cases there is an ex officio chairman.
When members of the House of Commons and other debaters call
out “Chair,” they mean that the chairman is not properly supported, and
his words not obeyed as they ought to be. Another form of the same
expression is, “Pray support the chair.”
The chair in which a woman is confined or sits afterwards to
receive congratulations. Similarly “groaning cake” and “groaning
cheese” are the cake and cheese which used to be provided in “Goose
For a nurse, the child to dandle,
Sugar, soap, spiced pots, and candle
A groaning chair, and eke a cradle
Poor Robin's Almanack,
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894