Try Our Apps


Gobble up these 8 terms for eating

chain gang

a group of convicts chained together, especially when working outside.
Origin of chain gang
1825-35 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for chain-gang
Historical Examples
  • This is the “chain-gang,” so called once in scoffing ignorance of the humane purpose the contrivance serves.

    How the Other Half Lives Jacob A. Riis
  • To begin: why did you send those four prisoners out with the chain-gang?

    The Free Lances Mayne Reid
  • Some of the largest farms in the South are operated by chain-gang labour.

    Following the Color Line Ray Stannard Baker
  • My idea was to let that chain-gang get out of sight before I climbed the hill.

    Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
  • But Moses must hurry, for the word had gone forth that the brothers were to be sent South, and the chain-gang was being collected.

  • There were upward of two hundred of us, and they let us out like a chain-gang, one by one.

    The Coast of Chance Esther Chamberlain
  • In San Francisco a prison is in course of erection by the labor of felons condemned to the chain-gang.

  • In half an hour the chain-gang starts for the mines, and you are one of them.

    The Slave of the Mine Bracebridge Hemyng
  • He got rid o' the chain-gang men altogether, and hired none but men o' the best character in their place.

    Blown to Bits Robert Michael Ballantyne
  • From the vessel I observed the chain-gang at work on the levee.

    Twelve Years a Slave Solomon Northup
British Dictionary definitions for chain-gang

chain gang

(US) a group of convicted prisoners chained together, usually while doing hard labour
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for chain-gang

chain gang

noun phrase

The football officials who carry and set the chain that marks off the ten yards needed for a first down (1980s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Word Value for chain

Scrabble Words With Friends