What does chain mean?

Definitions for chain

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word chain.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. chain, concatenationnoun

    a series of things depending on each other as if linked together

    "the chain of command"; "a complicated concatenation of circumstances"

  2. chain, chemical chainnoun

    (chemistry) a series of linked atoms (generally in an organic molecule)

  3. chainnoun

    a series of (usually metal) rings or links fitted into one another to make a flexible ligament

  4. chainnoun

    (business) a number of similar establishments (stores or restaurants or banks or hotels or theaters) under one ownership

  5. chainnoun

    anything that acts as a restraint

  6. chainnoun

    a unit of length

  7. Chain, Ernst Boris Chain, Sir Ernst Boris Chainnoun

    British biochemist (born in Germany) who isolated and purified penicillin, which had been discovered in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming (1906-1979)

  8. range, mountain range, range of mountains, chain, mountain chain, chain of mountainsnoun

    a series of hills or mountains

    "the valley was between two ranges of hills"; "the plains lay just beyond the mountain range"

  9. chainnoun

    a linked or connected series of objects

    "a chain of daisies"

  10. chain, string, strandverb

    a necklace made by a stringing objects together

    "a string of beads"; "a strand of pearls";

  11. chainverb

    connect or arrange into a chain by linking

  12. chainverb

    fasten or secure with chains

    "Chain the chairs together"


  1. chainnoun

    A series of interconnected rings or links usually made of metal.

    He wore a gold chain around the neck.

  2. chainnoun

    A series of interconnected things.

    This led to an unfortunate chain of events.

  3. chainnoun

    A series of stores or businesses with the same brand name.

    That chain of restaurants is expanding into our town.

  4. chainnoun

    A number of atoms in a series, which combine to form a molecule.

    When examined, the molecular chain included oxygen and hydrogen.

  5. chainnoun

    A series of interconnected links of known length, used as a measuring device.

  6. chainnoun

    A long measuring tape.

  7. chainnoun

    A unit of length equal to 22 yards. The length of a Gunter's surveying chain. The length of a cricket pitch. Equal to 20.12 metres. Equal to 4 rods. Equal to 100 links.

  8. chainnoun

    A sequence of linked house purchases, each of which is dependent on the preceding and succeeding purchase (said to be "broken" if a buyer or seller pulls out).

  9. chainverb

    To fasten something with a chain

  10. chainverb

    To link multiple items together

  11. chainverb

    To secure someone with fetters

  12. chainverb

    To obstruct the mouth of a river etc with a chain

  13. chainverb

    To relate data items with a chain of pointers.

  14. chainverb

    To be chained to another data item.

  15. chainverb

    To measure a distance using a 66-foot long chain, as in land surveying.

  16. chainverb

    To load and automatically run (a program).

  17. Etymology: From chaeine (French: chaîne), from catena.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. CHAINnoun

    Etymology: chaine, Fr.

    And Pharaoh took off his ring, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and put a gold chain about his neck. Gen. xli. 42.

    Still in constraint your suff’ring sex remains,
    Or bound in formal, or in real chains. Alexander Pope.

    A surveyour may as soon, with his chain, measure out infinite space, as a philosopher, by the quickest flight of mind, reach it, or, by thinking, comprehend it. John Locke.

    Those so mistake the Christian religion, as to think it is only a chain of fatal decrees, to deny all liberty of man’s choice toward good or evil. Henry Hammond.

    As there is pleasure in the right exercise of any faculty, so especially in that of right reasoning; which is still the greater, by how much the consequences are more clear, and the chains of them more long. Thomas Burnet, Theory of the Earth.

  2. To Chainverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    They repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich, and provide more piercing statutes daily to chain up and restrain the poor. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    The mariners he chained in his own galleys for slaves. Richard Knolles, History of the Turks.

    Or, march’d I chain’d behind the hostile car,
    The victor’s pastime, and the sport of war? Matthew Prior.

    They, with joint force oppression chaining, set
    Imperial justice at the helm. James Thomson.

    This world, ’tis true,
    Was made for Cæsar, but for Titus too:
    And which more blest? who chain’d his country, say,
    Or he, whose virtue sigh’d to lose a day? Alexander Pope.

    The admiral seeing the mouth of the haven chained, and the castles full of ordnance, and strongly manned, durst not attempt to enter. Richard Knolles, History of the Turks.

    O Warwick, I do bend my knee with thine,
    And in this vow do chain my soul with thine. William Shakespeare, Henry VI. p. iii.


  1. Chain

    A chain is a serial assembly of connected pieces, called links, typically made of metal, with an overall character similar to that of a rope in that it is flexible and curved in compression but linear, rigid, and load-bearing in tension. A chain may consist of two or more links. Chains can be classified by their design, which can be dictated by their use: Those designed for lifting, such as when used with a hoist; for pulling; or for securing, such as with a bicycle lock, have links that are torus shaped, which make the chain flexible in two dimensions (the fixed third dimension being a chain's length). Small chains serving as jewellery are a mostly decorative analogue of such types. Those designed for transferring power in machines have links designed to mesh with the teeth of the sprockets of the machine, and are flexible in only one dimension. They are known as roller chains, though there are also non-roller chains such as block chains.Two distinct chains can be connected using a quick link, carabiner, shackle, or clevis. Load can be transferred from a chain to another object by a chain stopper.


  1. chain

    A chain is a series or sequence of connected or interlinked elements, objects, or events forming a continuous line or pattern. It typically involves a series of links or segments that are joined together to create a cohesive whole. Chains can have various forms and purposes, such as physical chains used for securing or connecting objects, metaphorical chains representing constraint or limitation, or even sequential or interconnected events or actions forming a chain of events.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Chainnoun

    a series of links or rings, usually of metal, connected, or fitted into one another, used for various purposes, as of support, of restraint, of ornament, of the exertion and transmission of mechanical power, etc

  2. Chainnoun

    that which confines, fetters, or secures, as a chain; a bond; as, the chains of habit

  3. Chainnoun

    a series of things linked together; or a series of things connected and following each other in succession; as, a chain of mountains; a chain of events or ideas

  4. Chainnoun

    an instrument which consists of links and is used in measuring land

  5. Chainnoun

    iron links bolted to the side of a vessel to bold the dead-eyes connected with the shrouds; also, the channels

  6. Chainnoun

    the warp threads of a web

  7. Chainverb

    to fasten, bind, or connect with a chain; to fasten or bind securely, as with a chain; as, to chain a bulldog

  8. Chainverb

    to keep in slavery; to enslave

  9. Chainverb

    to unite closely and strongly

  10. Chainverb

    to measure with the chain

  11. Chainverb

    to protect by drawing a chain across, as a harbor

  12. Etymology: [F. chane, fr. L. catena. Cf. Catenate.]


  1. Chain

    A chain is a series of connected links which are typically made of metal. A chain may consist of two or more links. Chains are usually made in one of two styles, according to their intended use: ⁕Those designed for lifting, such as when used with a hoist; for pulling; or for securing, such as with a bicycle lock, have links that are torus shaped, which make the chain flexible in two dimensions ⁕Those designed for transferring power in machines have links designed to mesh with the teeth of the sprockets of the machine, and are flexible in only one dimension. They are known as roller chains, though there are also non-roller chains such as block chain. Two distinct chains can be connected using a quick link which resembles a carabiner with a screw close rather than a latch.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Chain

    chān, n. a series of links or rings passing through one another: a number of things coming after each other: anything that binds: a connected course or train of events: in surveying, often called Gunter's chain, a measure of 100 links, 66 feet long (10 sq. chains make an acre): (pl.) fetters, bonds, confinement generally.—v.t. to fasten: to fetter: to restrain: (Shak.) to embrace.—ns. Chain′-arm′our, chain-mail; Chain′-bolt, a large bolt used to secure the chain-plates to the ship's side; Chain′-bridge, a bridge suspended on chains: a suspension-bridge; Chain′-cā′ble, a cable composed of iron links.—p.adj. Chained, bound or fastened, as with a chain: fitted with a chain.—n. Chain′-gang, a gang of convicts chained together.—adj. Chain′less, without chains: unfettered.—ns. Chain′let, a small chain; Chain′-mail, mail or armour made of iron links connected together, much used in Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries; Chain′-mould′ing, moulding in the form of a chain; Chain′-pier, a pier supported by chains like a chain-bridge.—n.pl. Chain′-plates, on shipboard, iron plates bolted below the channels to serve as attachments for the dead-eyes, through which the standing rigging or shrouds and back-stays are rove and secured.—ns. Chain′-pump, a pump consisting of buckets or plates fastened to an endless iron chain, and used for raising water; Chain′-rule, an arithmetical rule, so called from the terms of the problem being stated as equations, and connected, as if by a chain, so as to obtain by one operation the same result as would be obtained by a number of different operations in simple proportion: the rule for solving problems by compound proportion; Chain′-shot, two bullets or half-bullets fastened together by a chain, used formerly in naval engagements to destroy rigging, now replaced by case-shot and shrapnel-shell; Chain′-stitch, a peculiar kind of stitch resembling the links of a chain; Chain′-work, work consisting of threads, cords, &c., wrought with open spaces like the links of a chain: network. [Fr. chaine—L. catēna.]

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. chain

    1. vi. [orig. from BASIC's CHAIN statement] To hand off execution to a child or successor without going through the OS command interpreter that invoked it. The state of the parent program is lost and there is no returning to it. Though this facility used to be common on memory-limited micros and is still widely supported for backward compatibility, the jargon usage is semi-obsolescent; in particular, most Unix programmers will think of this as an exec. Oppose the more modern subshell. 2. n. A series of linked data areas within an operating system or application. Chain rattling is the process of repeatedly running through the linked data areas searching for one which is of interest to the executing program. The implication is that there is a very large number of links on the chain.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. chain

    When mountains, hills, lakes, and islands are linked together, or follow each other in succession, so that their whole length greatly exceeds their breadth, they form what is termed a chain. A measuring chain is divided into links, &c., made of stout wire, because line is apt to shrink on wet ground and give way. The chain measure is 66 feet.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. chain

    A chain made of a kind of wire, divided into links of an equal length, is made use of by military engineers for setting out works on the ground, because cord lines are apt to shrink and give way.

Rap Dictionary

  1. chain

    chain used as a necklace usually silver,platinum or gold ,usually with a symbol or other cool item hanging from it Do your chain hang low, Do it wobble to the flo', Do it shine in the light, Is it platinum, Is it gold, Could you throw it over ya shoulda, If ya hot, it make ya cold, Do your chain hang low,

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. CHAIN

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Chain is ranked #19559 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Chain surname appeared 1,380 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Chain.

    79.2% or 1,093 total occurrences were White.
    8.5% or 118 total occurrences were Black.
    6.1% or 85 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    4.9% or 68 total occurrences were Asian.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'chain' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2821

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'chain' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2761

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'chain' in Nouns Frequency: #925

Anagrams for chain »

  1. china

  2. China

  3. chian

How to pronounce chain?

How to say chain in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of chain in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of chain in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of chain in a Sentence

  1. Marco Rubio:

    The Biden administration’s decision to impose a vaccine mandate on cross-border truckers transporting goods to and from Americans makes zero sense, our bill will put an end to this craziness, help relieve the ongoing supply chain crisis, and restore freedom for North American truckers.

  2. Adlai E. Jr. Stevenson:

    If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. The free mind is not a barking dog, to be tethered on a ten-foot chain.

  3. Claire Runge:

    A typical migratory bird relies on many different geographic locations throughout its annual cycle for food, rest and breeding. So even if we protect most of their breeding grounds, it’s still not enough – threats somewhere else can affect the entire population, the chain can be broken at any link.

  4. Ali Tapsoba:

    We are not going to allow Burkinabes to be used as guinea pigs, if we intoxicate one link in the food chain, we are going to intoxicate the next link.

  5. Geely Automobile:

    The recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus had caused serious disruption to our supply chain and thus our production levels, meaning additional pressure on our business volume and profitability in 2020.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for chain

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"chain." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 29 Feb. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/chain>.

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    a rugged box (usually made of wood); used for shipping
    • A. impurity
    • B. sheath
    • C. crate
    • D. muddle

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