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I am trying to come up with a word that would describe someone who is the first among equals. I did a quick search on the term on Google, and didn't come up with anything really satisfactory.

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What's wrong with just saying "first among equals"? – David Richerby Oct 16 '14 at 15:19
up vote 12 down vote accepted

How about "preeminent"? I think it fits your definition.

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That's what I was going to say. – kitukwfyer Feb 25 '11 at 19:40
I think I like that one the most, thanks! – Ted Ballou Feb 25 '11 at 21:28

The only single words that I can think of that have ever been used to mean that have lost the meaning through the somewhat natural process where the "among equals" part becomes more or less of a joke: prince and its Latin root princeps.

In phrases, first citizen is commonly employed, and the plain Latin for first among equals, primus inter pares, has some history behind it.

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I was also going to suggest primus inter pares, especially if you want to look all fancy. – JSBձոգչ Feb 25 '11 at 18:50

I was going to suggest "primus" as Chaos has already done. Alternatively, "principal" could be appropriate in some circumstances - although I imagine this could be confused with the use as "senior teacher within a school" in the US.

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Aside: At least in big public schools the principal rarely actually teaches anymore. They are administrators, which make the appellation a little out of date. – dmckee Feb 25 '11 at 22:13

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