chain

noun, often attributive
\ ˈchān \

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 \

Definition of Chain (Entry 3 of 3)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The CVS Health Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the retailer, is also giving a $850,000 grant to Total Health Care, a nonprofit chain of community health care centers that provides substance abuse services. Andrea K. Mcdaniels, baltimoresun.com, "CVS to place opioid disposal containers in its stores," 12 July 2018 In June AMC Theatres, America’s largest chain of cinemas, introduced a similar programme but priced at $20 per month, a model which may be prove to be more sustainable since the higher price limits the downside risk. The Economist, "MoviePass’s useful financial horror show," 12 July 2018 That’s steady, solid growth to be sure, continuing an unbroken chain of monthly gains in total employment that started in October 2010. Brooks Jackson, Philly.com, "Trump's Numbers (Second Quarterly Update) | FactCheck," 11 July 2018 On Lap 66, Stenhouse nudged the right rear panel of Kyle Busch to set off another chain of crashes. Edgar Thompson, OrlandoSentinel.com, "First-time winner Erik Jones emerges from wild wreck-filled night at Coke Zero Sugar 400," 8 July 2018 Carol Charette, a project manager for the Army Corps, said the letter was triggered by a long chain of events that began in 1990, when a resident of the area discovered a rocket — a variety fired from planes during World War II. Dugan Arnett, BostonGlobe.com, "On tranquil Nantucket, a new worry about what’s under the sand," 3 July 2018 Children are the least capable of processing the reasons and rationales behind corporal punishment, the least able to follow chains of reasoning and assign responsibility. David Roberts, Vox, "Please don’t spank your kids," 3 July 2018 His rowdier friend Yûsuke (Mamoru Miyano) similarly desires the girl’s affections, setting in motion a chain of misunderstanding and jealousy. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Time-travel romance, but no magic, in the Japanese anime 'Fireworks'," 2 July 2018 The two established the Hamburger Hamlet chain of restaurants (Hamlet refers to the Danish prince). Vogue, "A Vintage Sale Showcases the Work of the Californian “Couturiere” Marilyn Lewis," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Several younger grizzlies, along with some black bears and a cinnamon, were chained off to the side. Gary Kamiya, SFChronicle.com, "The original Grizzly Adams kept his bears on a chain in SF," 7 July 2018 Battlefield 1 introduced the next biggest change to the series with Grand Operations, which chained a series of maps and matches together, giving players a sense of progress and making each match feel more meaningful. T.c. Sottek, The Verge, "After 16 years of war, Battlefield V is a turning point," 29 June 2018 No other ethnic group is chained to a single political ideology. Jason Whitlock, WSJ, "Kanye Had One of the Best Tweets of All Time," 7 May 2018 Since 2000, the CPI has increased by 45.7 percent; the chained CPI by 39.7 percent. Julie Heath, Cincinnati.com, "Region's Economy: The hidden tax increase in the new tax bill," 1 Mar. 2018 Although François and the others were not tortured as earlier victims had been, they were chained together, not given enough food or water and kept in darkened rooms and cellars for 10 of their 10 and a half months’ captivity. Janine Di Giovanni, Newsweek, "In Syria, Reporters Are Targets for Kidnapping," 29 Apr. 2014 Investigators testified that the couple chained their children to beds and deprived them of food. Washington Post, "Couple to face trial on child abuse charges," 22 June 2018 His music videos painted a vivid portrait of street life in Mexico in all of its gritty detail: chained dogs and flashing knives, drug paraphernalia and boasts of violence. Eli Rosenberg, Washington Post, "Mexican YouTube rapper melted bodies of slain film students in acid for cartel, officials say," 27 Apr. 2018 The Turpin children ate just once a day, were beaten, choked and chained to furniture and their beds with no access to a bathroom for months at a time, police said. Corky Siemaszko, NBC News, "California torture house: Teen who escaped overcame tremendous odds," 19 Jan. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chain

Dictionary Entries near chain

chahi

chai

Chaima

chain

Chain

chain armor

chain banking

Statistics for chain

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chain

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on chain

What made you want to look up chain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make amends

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!