Chief



[cheef] /tʃif/

noun
1.
the head or leader of an organized body of people; the person highest in authority:
the chief of police.
2.
the head or ruler of a tribe or clan:
an Indian chief.
3.
(initial capital letter) U.S. Army. a title of some advisers to the Chief of Staff, who do not, in most instances, command the troop units of their arms or services:
Chief of Engineers; Chief Signal Officer.
4.
Informal. boss or leader:
We’ll have to talk to the chief about this.
5.
Heraldry.

adjective
6.
highest in rank or authority:
the chief priest; the chief administrator.
7.
most important; principal:
his chief merit; the chief difficulty.
adverb
8.
Archaic. ; principally.
Idioms
9.
in chief,

/tʃiːf/
noun
1.
the head, leader, or most important individual in a group or body of people
2.
another word for chieftain (sense 2)
3.
(heraldry) the upper third of a shield
4.
in chief, primarily; especially
adjective
5.
(prenominal)

adverb
6.
(archaic) principally
adj.

c.1300, “highest in rank or power; most important or prominent; supreme, best,” from Old French chief “chief, principal, first” (10c., Modern French chef), from Vulgar Latin *capum (also source of Spanish and Portuguese cabo, Italian capo, Provençal cap), from Latin caput “head,” also “leader, guide, chief person; summit; capital city” (see capitulum).
n.

c.1300, “head, leader, captain; the principal or most important part of anything;” from Old French chief “leader, ruler, head” of something, “capital city” (10c., Modern French chef), from Vulgar Latin *capum, from Latin caput “head,” also “leader, chief person; summit; capital city” (see capitulum). Meaning “head of a clan” is from 1570s; later extended to American Indian tribes. Commander-in-chief attested from 1660s.

noun

Related Terms

too many chiefs and not enough indians

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    chief agglutinin n. See major agglutinin.

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