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mayors

mayors have been familiar urban officials in England and America (but not Scotland) for so long that it is easy to forget their exotic origin. The word (major=‘greater’) was used in the post-Roman West for officials with supervisory responsibilities for others, and was taken up by the elected heads of revolutionary town governments in northern France. In imitation of them, the Londoners elected a mayor when they formed a sworn association about 1190, and King John recognized the London mayoralty in 1215. In the later Middle Ages most leading English towns followed London's example, with an annually elected mayor as their chief official. The more important mayors were treated with great respect, and processed publicly with attendants such as a sword-bearer or mace-bearer; from the 15th cent. those of London and York came to be called lords mayor. Until the 19th cent. mayors exercised considerable power by both charter and by-laws, presiding over courts and having powers of arrest. Municipal reform since 1835 has allowed the multiplication of towns with mayors and lords mayor but has diminished their real power: they have become simply chairmen or chairwomen of their councils, and are expected to devote much time to ornamental and ceremonial functions. The London Lord Mayor's Show, originating with the medieval ceremony of the mayor going to Westminster to be presented to the barons of the Exchequer, has survived and grown to be one of the most famous civic pageants in the world. The 1997 Labour government, committed to devolution, instituted an elective mayor for London, with considerable executive powers.

David M. Palliser

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mayor

may·or / ˈmāər/ • n. the elected head of a city, town, or other municipality. ∎  the titular head of a municipality that is administered by a city manager. DERIVATIVES: may·or·al / māˈôrəl; ˈmāərəl/ adj. may·or·ship / ship/ n. ORIGIN: Middle English: from Old French maire, from the Latin adjective major ‘greater,’ used as a noun in late Latin.

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mayor

mayor chief officer of a municipal corporation. XIII. ME. mer, mair — (O)F. maire :- L. mājor greater, compar. of magnus great (see MAGNITUDE).
So mayoralty XIV. — OF.

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mayor

mayoraffair, affaire, air, Altair, Althusser, Anvers, Apollinaire, Astaire, aware, Ayer, Ayr, bare, bear, bêche-de-mer, beware, billionaire, Blair, blare, Bonaire, cafetière, care, chair, chargé d'affaires, chemin de fer, Cher, Clair, Claire, Clare, commissionaire, compare, concessionaire, cordon sanitaire, couvert, Daguerre, dare, debonair, declare, derrière, despair, doctrinaire, éclair, e'er, elsewhere, ensnare, ere, extraordinaire, Eyre, fair, fare, fayre, Finisterre, flair, flare, Folies-Bergère, forbear, forswear, foursquare, glair, glare, hair, hare, heir, Herr, impair, jardinière, Khmer, Kildare, La Bruyère, lair, laissez-faire, legionnaire, luminaire, mal de mer, mare, mayor, meunière, mid-air, millionaire, misère, Mon-Khmer, multimillionaire, ne'er, Niger, nom de guerre, outstare, outwear, pair, pare, parterre, pear, père, pied-à-terre, Pierre, plein-air, prayer, questionnaire, rare, ready-to-wear, rivière, Rosslare, Santander, savoir faire, scare, secretaire, share, snare, solitaire, Soufrière, spare, square, stair, stare, surface-to-air, swear, Tailleferre, tare, tear, their, there, they're, vin ordinaire, Voltaire, ware, wear, Weston-super-Mare, where, yeah

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