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chief definition

Overview

This page has 13 definitions of chief in English and Middle English. Chief is a noun, an adjective and verb. Examples of how to use chief in a sentence are shown. Also define these 17 related words and terms: leader, head, heraldry, shield, escutcheon, ordinary, field, primary, principal, intimate, friendly, smoke, cannabis, chef, anatomy, chief, and front.

English chief definition

Etymology

From Middle English chef, borrowed from Old French chief (leader), from Vulgar Latin capus (from which also captain, chieftain), from Latin caput (head) (English cap (head covering)), from Proto-Indo-European *kauput- (English head).

Pronunciation

Noun

chief (plural chiefs)

  1. A leader or head of a group of people, organisation, etc. [from 13th c.]
    • 1994, Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, Abacus 2010, p. 4:
      My father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, was a chief by both blood and custom.
    All firefighters report to the fire chief.
  2. (heraldry) The top part of a shield or escutcheon; more specifically, an ordinary consisting of the upper part of the field cut off by a horizontal line, generally occupying the top third. [from 15th c.]
    • 1889, Charles Norton Elvin, A Dictionary of Heraldry:
      When the Chief is Charged with any figure, in blazon it is said to be "On a Chief".
    • Ordinary definition
      A person with authority; authority, ordinance.
      1. A person having immediate jurisdiction in a given case of ecclesiastical law, such as the bishop within a diocese.
      2. A devotional manual; a book setting our rules for proper conduct.
      3. A courier; someone delivering mail or post.
      4. A rule, or book of rules, prescribing the order of service, especially of Mass.
      5. A judge with the authority to deal with cases himself or herself rather than by delegation.
      6. The chaplain of Newgate prison, who prepared condemned prisoners for death.
      (1 of 15 ordinary definitions)
  3. The principal part or top of anything.
  4. An informal term of address, sometimes ironic.
    Hey, chief.

Synonyms

Derived terms

Pages starting with “chief”.

Terms derived from chief (noun)

Related terms

Descendants

Translations

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Adjective

chief (comparative chiefer or more chief, superlative chiefest or most chief)

  1. Primary; principal.
    Negligence was the chief cause of the disaster.
    • 1727, Tobias Swinden, “The Improbability of Hell Fire’s Being in, or about the Center of the Earth”, in An Enquiry into the Nature and Place of Hell. [] With a Supplement, wherein the Notions of A[rch]b[isho]p [John] Tillotson, Dr. Lupton, and Others, as to the Eternity of Hell Torments, are Impartially Represented. And the Rev. Mr. Wall’s Sentiments of this Learned Work, 2nd edition, London: Printed by H. P. for Tho[mas] Astley, at the Dolphin and Crown in St. Paul's Church-Yard, OCLC 645158554, pages 98–99:
      [] But when we find that they [volcanoes] are but few in Number, and the chiefeſt of thoſe too near the torrid Zone, and from their Tops to iſſue forth, now clear Fire, then thick, black Smoke, and ſometimes little or nothing at all; we muſt conclude, that they are only particular Fires, probably of the Sun’s kindling at firſt, and ſince continued by the caſual and incidental Applications of that Pabulum, which thoſe Part of the Earth adminiſter to them.
    • 2011, Roy F. Baumeister, John Tierney, Willpower, →ISBN, page 113:
      Researchers found that one of the chief effects of drinking was to reduce people's ability to monitor their own behavior.
  2. (Scotland) Intimate, friendly.
    • 2006, James Robertson: The Testament of Gideon Mack, p 324:
      'You’re doing it because she was your friend, not because she was a parishioner, and certainly not because of the Declaratory Articles,' Macmurray said, pushing himself forward on his seat. 'Everybody knows how chief you and she were. It was an unfitting relationship for a minister while she was alive, and it is equally unfitting for you to do her a favour like this now she's dead.'

Translations

Verb

chief (third-person singular simple present chiefs, present participle chiefing, simple past and past participle chiefed)

  1. (US, slang) To smoke cannabis.
    • 2012, Marquis "Cream" Cureton, When the Smoke Clears (page 268)
      He chiefed on the bud like a pro, taking long deep hits and holding it within until he had inhaled as much of the weed smoke as he could.

See also

Anagrams


Middle English chief definition

Noun

chief

  1. Alternative form of chef

Adjective

chief

  1. Alternative form of chef

Middle French chief definition

Etymology

From Old French chief.

Noun

chief m (plural chiefs)

  1. head

Descendants

  • French: chef (see there for further descendants)

Old French chief definition

Alternative forms

Etymology

First known attestation 881 in The Sequence of Saint Eulalia. From Vulgar Latin capus, from Latin caput.

Pronunciation

Noun

chief m (oblique plural chiés, nominative singular chiés, nominative plural chief)

  1. (anatomy) head
  2. leader, chief
  3. front (foremost side of something)
    • Front definition
      The foremost side of something or the end that faces the direction it normally moves. (1 of 19 front definitions)

Descendants