a chief or leader, esp. of a clan or tribe
Origin of chieftainMiddle English chevetaine ; from Old French ; from Late Latin capitaneus, chief in size: see captain
The leader or head of a group, especially of a clan or tribe.
Origin of chieftainMiddle English cheftain, from Old French chevetain, from Late Latin capitaneus, from Latin caput, head; see kaput- in Indo-European roots.