from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A chief leader; a generalissimo; a chief king. The title was conferred of old on British chiefs in times of great danger, when they were invested with dictatorial power.
He would have gratefully given all his patrimonial domains to one who should inform him what pendragon or druid it was who set up the first stone on Salisbury plain.
In seasons of emergency, indeed, the confederated princes elected a dictator, who bore the title of Pendragon (head of all Britain), and among such are to be found the Arthurs and the Alfreds of their heroic times.
From that day forward he was called Uther-Pendragon, for formerly his name was only Uther, and Pendragon, which means in the Breton language, ‘dragon's head,’ was added, and he received this appellation because Merlin had prophesied that he should be king in semblance of a dragon.
This word comes from the Welsh ‘pen,’ head, and the Latin ‘dracon- ,’ snake, the standard of a cohort.