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of or forming the center:
the central hut in the village.
in, at, or near the center:
a central position.
constituting something from which other related things proceed or upon which they depend:
a central office.
principal; chief; dominant:
the play’s central character.
Anatomy, Zoology.

of or relating to the central nervous system.
of or relating to the centrum of a vertebra.

Phonetics. (of a speech sound) produced with the tongue articulating neither expressly forward nor in the back part of the mouth, as any of the sounds of lull.
Physics. (of a force) directed to or from a fixed point.

a main telephone exchange.
a telephone operator at such an exchange.

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

in, at, of, from, containing, or forming the centre of something: the central street in a city, the central material of a golf ball
main, principal, or chief; most important: the central cause of a problem

of or relating to the central nervous system
of or relating to the centrum of a vertebra

of, relating to, or denoting a vowel articulated with the tongue held in an intermediate position halfway between the positions for back and front vowels, as for the a of English soda
(of a force) directed from or towards a point
(informal) (immediately postpositive) used to describe a place where a specified thing, quality, etc is to be found in abundance: nostalgia central

1640s, from French central or directly from Latin centralis “pertaining to a center,” from centrum (see center (n.)). Centrally is attested perhaps as early as early 15c., which might imply a usage of central earlier than the attested date.

Slightly older is centric (1580s). As a U.S. colloquial noun for “central telephone exchange,” first recorded 1889 (hence, “Hello, Central?”). Central processing unit attested from 1961. Central America is attested from 1826.


The most important site of what is indicated: Israel claims U.S. is Terror Central/ quickly turned the Odessa into Mob Central/ This is a small town, but if it’s cocaine central then it’s a pretty tough town (1990s+)


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