chain gang


plural chain gangs
: a group of people (such as convicts) chained together especially as an outside working party

Examples of chain gang in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The league likes the drama of a chain gang stretching to measure for that first down. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, 23 Oct. 2023 Jim Harbaugh meanwhile was on the sidelines at a youth football game in the chain gang. Jared Ramsey, Detroit Free Press, 9 Sep. 2023 There was a man in the town of Spear [N.C., Wilson’s grandmother’s hometown] at the bottom of the mountain who was on a chain gang, accused of raping a white woman, and convicted by the jury that deliberated for five minutes. Jacquinn Sinclair,, 10 Aug. 2023 Long before the conversation around Black incarceration and prison reform, Belafonte recorded an album of chain gang work songs such as the jailor classic co-penned by folk musicologist Alan Lomax, along with Vera Hall, John Lomax, and Ruby Pickens Tartt. A.d. Amorosi, Variety, 25 Apr. 2023 Official Trailer - Paul Newman, George Kennedy Movie HD Watch on Paul Newman stars in this 1967 prison drama about a World War II veteran who is sentenced to two years in a chain gang and disrupts the structure of the prison. Milan Polk, Men's Health, 31 July 2023 Finally, mixed-race guide Segundo (Camilo Arancibia) is plucked from a chain gang, on account of his superior marksmanship skills, to accompany them. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 30 June 2023 Over decades, county sheriffs rounded up thousands of Black men with phony charges and trapped them in the convict leasing system – whose chain gangs were often run by former slave drivers. Patrik Jonsson, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 June 2023 For instance, the erotic, bluesy song that Conley performs with a chain gang is actually a quasi-confession, simultaneously gorgeous and appalling, particularly as sung by the astonishing Grayson. Helen Shaw, The New Yorker, 16 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chain gang.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1813, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chain gang was in 1813

Dictionary Entries Near chain gang

Cite this Entry

“Chain gang.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Legal Definition

chain gang

: a group of convicts chained together especially to work outside a prison
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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