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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.
  1. the upper area of an escutcheon.
  2. an ordinary occupying this area.
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. chiefly; principally.
Idioms
9.
in chief,
  1. in the chief position; highest in rank (used in combination):
    editor in chief; commander in chief.
  2. Heraldry. in the upper part of an escutcheon.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English < Anglo-French chief, chef, Old French chef < Vulgar Latin *capum, re-formation of Latin caput head
Related forms
chiefless, adjective
chiefship, noun
subchief, noun
underchief, noun
Can be confused
chef, chief.
Synonyms
7. foremost, leading, prime, paramount, cardinal. See capital1 .
Antonyms
6. subordinate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for chiefs
  • Bossier had to ask permission from other chiefs to form his own tribe.
  • He translates the stories of the elder chiefs, becoming the link to the ancient traditions of the pre-reservation generation.
  • College chiefs have to be careful to adopt the right tone when discussing the recession with trustees and professors.
  • Although not quite celebrities, campus chiefs are public figures.
  • In addition to being targets for lawful protests, college chiefs attract visits from angry or disturbed individuals.
  • The oxen are afterwards killed, and their flesh is eaten by the chiefs.
  • The business of government in the villages is conducted by subordinate chiefs, who are appointed by him.
  • Thus, several finance chiefs explain how they are guiding their companies to innovate on a budget.
  • But some chiefs resist progress for fear that better-off followers will be less dependent on their chiefly patronage.
  • The chiefs said they were too busy to see the envoys.
British Dictionary definitions for chiefs

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)
  1. most important; principal
  2. highest in rank or authority
adverb
6.
(archaic) principally
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from Latin caput head
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
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Word Origin and History for chiefs

chief

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for chiefs

chief

noun
  1. A man; fellow; guy, mac •Usu in direct address to a stranger, with a sense of ironic deference (1930s+)
  2. lsd (1960s+ Narcotics)
Related Terms

too many chiefs and not enough indians


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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14
14
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