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English definition of “principal”

principal

noun     /ˈprɪnsəpəl/
[C usually singular] FINANCE an amount of money lent or borrowed, rather than the interest paid on it: She lives off the interest and tries to keep the principal intact. These bonds involve the risk that the issuing company may be unable to pay interest or repay principal. The money is secured by the borrower's home, which is sold after the borrower's death to pay off the interest and principal.
[C] LAW a person who is directly involved in an arrangement, agreement, etc., rather than someone acting for that person: Once the principals sign the necessary papers the deal will be done.
[C] LAW a person who has legal responsibility for what a business or organization does: I later became a principal at an investment banking firm.
(Definition of principal noun from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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