panjandrum

You can refer to the bossy, self-important president of your school's French club as a panjandrum, especially when she marches around assigning everyone tasks.

Something about the word panjandrum suggests subcontinental origin, but it's actually a made-up word from the eighteenth century, designating an important and often overbearing person. The word was also commandeered in World War II to refer to a failed experimental weapon meant to breach sea walls.

Definitions of panjandrum
  1. noun
    an important or influential (and often overbearing) person
    synonyms: VIP, dignitary, high muckamuck, high-up, very important person
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    type of:
    important person, influential person, personage
    a person whose actions and opinions strongly influence the course of events
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