chain

noun, often attributive
\ ˈchān How to pronounce chain (audio) \

Definition of chain

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a series of usually metal links or rings connected to or fitted into one another and used for various purposes (such as support, restraint, transmission of mechanical power, or measurement)
b : a series of links used or worn as an ornament or insignia
c(1) : a measuring instrument of 100 links used in surveying
(2) : a unit of length equal to 66 feet (about 20 meters)
2 : something that confines, restrains, or secures
3a : a series of things linked, connected, or associated together a chain of events a mountain chain
b : a group of enterprises or institutions of the same kind or function usually under a single ownership, management, or control fast-food chains
c : a number of atoms or chemical groups united like links in a chain

chain

verb
chained; chaining; chains

Definition of chain (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to obstruct or protect by a chain
2 : to fasten, bind, or connect with or as if with a chain also : fetter

Chain

biographical name
\ ˈchān How to pronounce Chain (audio) \

Definition of Chain (Entry 3 of 3)

Sir Ernst Boris 1906–1979 British (German-born) biochemist

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Examples of chain in a Sentence

Noun

We'll need 25 feet of chain for the pulley. The new book chronicles the chain of events leading up to the crime. They own a chain of organic grocery stores. The hotel chain recently opened a new hotel in Hong Kong.

Verb

She chained her bicycle to the post and went inside. chaining up the dog in the backyard
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

After some quick trimming of his headpiece, which was dripping with gold chains, Porter was off. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Watch Billy Porter Become a Glittering “Sun God” for the Met Gala," 8 May 2019 The father of a 3-year-old Queens girl who died after being trapped in a burning car with a metal chain looped around the handle of a rear passenger door was in police custody Monday and expected to be criminally charged, police officials said. Katie Honan, WSJ, "Father Is in Custody After Toddler’s Death in Burning Car," 6 May 2019 Treat your family to an Italian-style meal at one of America's most beloved chain restaurants. Sarah Schreiber, Good Housekeeping, "20 Restaurants That Will Stay Open on Easter Sunday," 12 Mar. 2019 In the last year and a half, Instacart has reduced its dependence on Whole Foods by signing delivery deals with giant chains like Kroger, Aldi, Sam’s Club and Walmart Canada. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Facebook wants you to buy — and watch — HBO on Facebook," 14 Dec. 2018 Langdon’s wardrobe is peppered with velvet, leather, chains, and heeled boots. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "American Horror Story fans are dressing like the show’s seductive Antichrist," 24 Oct. 2018 Remains of the ship’s masts were found in the front section of the hull, along with anchor chains. James Rogers, Fox News, "'Time capsule' warship wreck discovered," 27 Sep. 2018 Hoffmann wants to add 1,000 net new Dunkin’ locations, primarily outside the core Northeast footprint, to the chain’s roughly 9,200 US outlets by the end of 2020. BostonGlobe.com, "The week in business," 13 July 2018 Here, see eight eyewear chains to snap up before Gigi or any stylish senior does. Vogue, "Gigi Hadid Revives a Granny Accessory," 24 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Multiple SiteLights can be chained together to illuminate a wider area, too. Kraig Becker, Popular Mechanics, "How to Set Up Camp," 2 Apr. 2019 At the end of the village was a large compound with a sluggish white dog chained up at the door. Michael M. Phillips, WSJ, "‘I Think I’ve Been Shot’: Nighttime Raid in Afghanistan Reveals New U.S. Strategy," 5 Dec. 2018 Protesters chained themselves to the exterior door of the Israeli Consulate at 20 Park Plaza on Tuesday hoping to convince Israeli officials to denounce the use of live ammunition against demonstrators in the Gaza Strip. John R. Ellement, BostonGlobe.com, "Protesters chain themselves to door at Israeli consulate in Boston," 3 Apr. 2018 Oh, and then there's the whole fact that Nick also chained up his werewolf familiar Amalia. Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, "The Best Musical Moments from "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Part 2," 9 Apr. 2019 Unlike other inmates who are handcuffed behind their backs, ultra-security inmates wear leg irons and belly chains – with their hands chained to their waists – any time they are removed from their cells. Sara Jean Green, The Seattle Times, "Escape attempt leads to elevated security status for Kent murder suspect," 12 July 2018 Employees in the downtown innovation hubs didn’t want to be chained to desks 10 hours a day. Ally Marotti, chicagotribune.com, "Suburban companies battle tech giants for talent. Downtown office spaces are their secret weapon.," 21 June 2018 Gaming laptops can seem like a great option for anyone who doesn't want to be chained to a desk, or can't afford to have a desktop computer for gaming and then a laptop for everything else. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Razer's Absurd New Laptop Is a Multi-Screen Transformer," 5 Jan. 2017 But nothing like this where a child was left chained up for an extended period of time. Emma Sarran Webster, Teen Vogue, "An Alabama Teen Was Reportedly Found Naked and Chained in Basement," 22 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of chain

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for chain

Noun

Middle English cheyne, from Anglo-French chaene, from Latin catena

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Learn More about chain

Dictionary Entries near chain

chai

chai latte

Chaima

chain

Chain

chain armor

chain banking

Statistics for chain

Last Updated

13 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chain

The first known use of chain was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for chain

chain

noun

English Language Learners Definition of chain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a series of usually metal links or rings that are connected to each other in a line and used for supporting heavy things, for holding things together, for decoration, etc.
: a chain that is attached to the arms or legs of a prisoner
: a series or group of things or people that are connected to each other in some way

chain

verb

English Language Learners Definition of chain (Entry 2 of 2)

: to fasten, hold, or connect (someone or something) with a chain

chain

noun
\ ˈchān How to pronounce chain (audio) \

Kids Definition of chain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a series of connected links or rings usually of metal She wore a gold chain around her neck.
2 : a series of things joined together as if by links a chain of mountains a chain of events
3 : a group of businesses that have the same name and sell the same products or services a chain of grocery stores

chain

verb
chained; chaining

Kids Definition of chain (Entry 2 of 2)

: to fasten, bind, or connect with or as if with a chain I chained my bike to a tree.

chain

noun
\ ˈchān How to pronounce chain (audio) \

Medical Definition of chain

1 : a series of things (as bacteria) linked, connected, or associated together
2 : a number of atoms or chemical groups united like links in a chain

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More from Merriam-Webster on chain

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chain

Spanish Central: Translation of chain

Nglish: Translation of chain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chain for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about chain

Comments on chain

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