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chieftain

[cheef-tuh n, -tin] /ˈtʃif tən, -tɪn/
noun
1.
the chief of a clan or a tribe.
2.
a leader of a group, band, etc.:
the robbers' chieftain.
3.
(initial capital letter) Military. Britain's main battle tank since 1969, fitted with a 120mm gun and two machine guns and weighing 55 tons (50 metric tons).
Origin of chieftain
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English cheftayne, variant of chevetaine < Old French < Late Latin capitāneus captain
Related forms
chieftaincy, chieftainship, noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for chieftain

chieftain

/ˈtʃiːftən; -tɪn/
noun
1.
the head or leader of a tribe or clan
2.
the chief of a group of people
Derived Forms
chieftaincy, chieftainship, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French chevetaine, from Late Latin capitāneus commander; see captain
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 chieftain
n.

early 14c., cheftayne "ruler, chief, head" of something, from Anglo-French chiefteyn, Old French chevetain "captain, chief, leader," from Late Latin capitaneus "commander," from Latin capitis, genitive of caput "head" (see capitulum). According to "Rob Roy" (1818) a Highland chieftain was the head of a branch of a clan, a chief was the head of the whole name. Related: Chieftainship.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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