What does chief mean?

Definitions for chief

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. head, chief, top dognoun

    a person who is in charge

    "the head of the whole operation"

  2. foreman, chief, gaffer, honcho, bossnoun

    a person who exercises control over workers

    "if you want to leave early you have to ask the foreman"

  3. headman, tribal chief, chieftain, chiefadjective

    the head of a tribe or clan

  4. chief(a), main(a), primary(a), principal(a), master(a)adjective

    most important element

    "the chief aim of living"; "the main doors were of solid glass"; "the principal rivers of America"; "the principal example"; "policemen were primary targets"; "the master bedroom"; "a master switch"


  1. chiefnoun

    A leader or head of a group of people, organisation, etc.

  2. chiefnoun

    The top part of a shield or escutcheon.

  3. chiefnoun

    A head officer in a department, organization etc.; a boss.

    All firefighters report to the fire chief.

  4. chiefnoun

    An informal address to an equal.

    Hey, chief.

  5. chiefadjective

    Primary; principal.

    Negligence was the chief cause of the disaster.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. CHIEFadjective

    Etymology: chef, the head, Fr.

    These were the chief of the officers that were over Solomon’s works. Kings ix. 23.

    The hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass. Ezra ix. 2.

    Your country, chief in arms, abroad defend;
    At home, with morals, arts, and laws amend. Alexander Pope, Epist.

    A froward man soweth strife, and a whisperer separateth chief friends Proverbs xvi. 28.

    I came to have a good general view of the apostle’s main purpose in writing the epistle, and the chief branches of his discourse wherein he prosecuted it. John Locke, St. Paul’s Ep. Pref. to.

    We beseech you, bend you to remain
    Here in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
    Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son. William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

    Doeg an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdmen. 1 Sa xxi. 7.

    He sometimes denied admission to the chiefest officers of the army. Edward Hyde, b. viii.

  2. Chiefnoun

    Etymology: from the adjective.

    Is pain to them
    Less pain, less to be fled? or thou than they
    Less hardy to endure? couragious chief!
    The first in flight from pain. John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. iv.

    After or before were never known
    Such chiefs; as each an army seem’d alone. John Dryden, Fab.

    A wit’s a feather, and a chief a rod;
    An honest man’s the noblest work of God. Alexander Pope, Ess. on Man.

    A prudent chief not always must display
    His pow’rs in equal ranks, and fair array;
    But with th’ occasion and the place comply,
    Conceal his force, nay seem sometimes to fly. Alexander Pope, Ess. Crit.

    All sums demandable, either for licence of alienation to be made of lands holden in chief, or for the pardon of any such alienation already made without licence, have been stayed in the way to the hanaper. Francis Bacon, Off. Alienations.

    I shall be proud to hold my dependance on you in chief, as I do part of my small fortune in Wiltshire. John Dryden, Cleom. Ded. to.

    Where be the nosegays that she dight for thee?
    The coloured chaplets wrought with a chief,
    The knottish rush-rings, and gilt rosemary. Edmund Spenser, Past.


  1. Chief

    A chief is a leader or head of an organization, department, or group, responsible for making decisions, directing operations, and overseeing the performance and well-being of the members or employees under their authority. They typically hold a position of high importance and are responsible for setting goals, providing guidance and support, and ensuring that the objectives of the organization or group are achieved.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Chiefnoun

    the head or leader of any body of men; a commander, as of an army; a head man, as of a tribe, clan, or family; a person in authority who directs the work of others; the principal actor or agent

  2. Chiefnoun

    the principal part; the most valuable portion

  3. Chiefnoun

    the upper third part of the field. It is supposed to be composed of the dexter, sinister, and middle chiefs

  4. Chiefadjective

    highest in office or rank; principal; head

  5. Chiefadjective

    principal or most eminent in any quality or action; most distinguished; having most influence; taking the lead; most important; as, the chief topic of conversation; the chief interest of man

  6. Chiefadjective

    very intimate, near, or close


  1. Chief

    The Chief was one of the named passenger trains of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Its route ran from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California. The Chief was inaugurated as an all-Pullman limited train to supplement the road's California Limited, with a surcharge of USD $10.00 for an end-to-end trip. The heavyweight began its first run from both ends of the line, simultaneously, on November 14, 1926, scheduled 63 hours each way between Chicago and Los Angeles, five hours faster than the California Limited. The Chief was a success, dubbed "Extra Fast-Extra Fine-Extra Fare" though it failed to relieve traffic on the California Limited. The Chief became famous as a "rolling boudoir" for film stars and Hollywood executives. In 1954 the Chief reduced its schedule to equal its cousins, the Super Chief and El Capitan, and would ultimately drop the extra fare requirement as well. The Chief would have been the "crown jewel" of most railroads' passenger fleets. But it did not survive the national decline in passenger demand and its last run was on May 15, 1968.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Chief

    chēf, adj. head: principal, highest, first: (Scot.) intimate.—adv. chiefly.—n. a head or principal person: a leader: the principal part or top of anything: (her.) an ordinary, consisting of the upper part of the field cut off by a horizontal line, generally made to occupy one-third of the area of the shield.—ns. Chief′-bar′on, the President of the Court of Exchequer; Chief′dom, Chief′ship, state of being chief: sovereignty; Chief′ery, an Irish chieftaincy: the dues paid to a chief; Chief′ess, a female chief; Chief′-jus′tice (see Justice).—adj. Chief′less, without a chief or leader.—adv. Chief′ly, in the first place: principally: for the most part.—ns. Chief′ry, a rent paid to the supreme lord: a chief's lands; Chief′tain, the head of a clan: a leader or commander:—fem. Chief′tainess; Chief′taincy, Chief′tainship; Chief′tainry.—In chief (her.) means that the charge is borne in the upper part of the shield: applied to holding land directly from the sovereign: at the head, as commander-in-chief. [Fr. chef—L. caput, the head.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Chief

    the upper part of an escutcheon cut off by a horizontal line.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. chief

    See COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF. A common abbreviation.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. chief

    The head or leader of any band or community; a commander.

  2. chief

    In heraldry, an ordinary formed by a horizontal line occupying the upper part of the escutcheon. Any object borne in the upper or chief part of the shield is said to be in chief, though the chief be not divided off from the rest of the field as a separate portion.

Suggested Resources

  1. chief

    Song lyrics by chief -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by chief on the Lyrics.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. CHIEF

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Chief is ranked #76275 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Chief surname appeared 252 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Chief.

    88.8% or 224 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    4.7% or 12 total occurrences were White.
    2.7% or 7 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    1.9% or 5 total occurrences were Black.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'chief' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1369

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'chief' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1977

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'chief' in Nouns Frequency: #975

  4. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'chief' in Adjectives Frequency: #163

How to pronounce chief?

How to say chief in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of chief in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of chief in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of chief in a Sentence

  1. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid:

    I talked to the President, I talked to the White House chief of staff many times, i talked to his political guy today. And he should pick who he things is best.

  2. Emmanuel Faber:

    The separation of the roles of chairman and chief executive has been the object of multiple debates for years, is it indispensable? In any case, I do not hold a dogmatic view on the matter.

  3. Ambassador Yovanovitch:

    These events should concern everyone in this room. Ambassadors are the symbol of the United States abroad, they are the personal representative of the president, if our chief representative is knee-capped, it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interests of the United States.

  4. Albert Einstein:

    Concern for man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors, concern for the great unsolved problems of the organization of labor and the distribution of goods--in order that the creations of our mind shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.

  5. Marie Sanderson:

    2022 holds a crucial opportunity for Republicans to not only flip the Trump White House and Senate, but also elect conservative women as chief executive of their states, the women Annie Dickerson are looking to support are talented and credentialed, and Right Direction Women is excited to get involved in these critically important campaigns.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for chief

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"chief." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/chief>.

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    an almost pleasurable sensation of fright
    A vigorish
    B breastwork
    C sheath
    D tingle

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