Chief meaning

chēf
Frequency:
The definition of chief is the highest in authority or the most important.

An example of chief used as an adjective is in the phrase the "chief issue" which means the most significant issue.

adjective
3
1
A chief engineer or chief petty officer.
noun
3
1
The upper third of a shield.
noun
2
1
Highest, as in rank or office; foremost.

The chief magistrate.

adjective
2
1
Most important or significant; main; principal.

The chief advantages.

adjective
2
1
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Chief is defined as the leader of a group.

An example of a chief is the head of a fire department.

noun
2
3
The head or leader of a group, organization, etc.; person of highest title or authority.
noun
1
2
The most valuable or main part of anything.
noun
1
2
Chiefly.
adverb
1
2
​A leader or head of a group of people, organisation, etc. [from 13th c.]
  • 1994, Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, Abacus 2010, p. 4.
    My father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, was a chief by both blood and custom.
noun
1
2
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(heraldry) The top part of a shield or escutcheon. [from 15th c.]
noun
1
2
​A head officer in a department, organization etc.; a boss. [from 17th c.]

All firefighters report to the fire chief.

noun
1
2
An informal address to an equal.

Hey, chief.

noun
1
2

Negligence was the chief cause of the disaster.

adjective
1
3
A supervisor; a boss.
noun
0
2
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One who is highest in rank or authority; a leader.
noun
0
3
The upper section of a shield.
noun
0
3
Highest in rank, authority, or office.

The chief scientist in the lab.

adjective
0
3
Most important or influential.

The chief ingredients in the stew.

adjective
0
3
in chief
  • In the chief position; of highest title or authority.
    Editor in chief.
  • Chiefly.
idiom
0
1
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Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

Origin of chief

  • Middle English chef from Old French from Latin caput head kaput- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English, from Old French chief (“leader”), from Late Latin capum (“head”) (from which also captain, chieftain), from Latin caput (“head”) (English cap (“head covering”)), from Proto-Indo-European *kauput- (English head).

    From Wiktionary