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

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 dog, a 50-pound male pit bull mix named Killer, was found with a thick metal chain around his neck and a heavy rock attached to it to prevent the animal from escaping, according to police. Fox News, 7 Sep. 2021 The Selling Sunset star, 32, posted a series of photos on Instagram Sunday, pairing an orange string bikini with a hair scarf and gold jewelry, including a chain slung around her waist. Ally Mauch, PEOPLE.com, 6 Sep. 2021 The 50-pound male pitbull mix was found last Sunday with a thick metal chain around his neck, tied to a metal rod protruding from the bottom of the Winthrop Parkway ramp onto Short Beach, State Police said. BostonGlobe.com, 6 Sep. 2021 For instance, in the original Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, the card is illustrated with a man and a woman, much like The Lovers, standing by the Devil with a chain around their necks. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, 5 Sep. 2021 Think of the glute complex as a chain that is only as strong as its weakest link. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, 4 Sep. 2021 Those two men started the alternative weekly New Times in Phoenix, founded in 1970, that grew into a chain that sprouted across the nation and eventually bought out New York’s Village Voice. Richard Ruelas, The Arizona Republic, 4 Sep. 2021 After working for a large hotel chain, Ana Markežiæ moved back to Kabola to help her parents run the place while studying for her Italian sommelier certificate. Adam Erace, Travel + Leisure, 4 Sep. 2021 The Yard is a national chain that offers over-the-top milkshakes, most of which are topped with a whole other dessert. oregonlive, 4 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Someone should pull everyone off the water, chain them to chairs in front of laptops and force the group to read every word. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 July 2021 Earlier Tuesday, Elsa swept past the Florida Keys but spared the low-lying island chain a direct hit. Curt Anderson, ajc, 7 July 2021 Immigrant labor was what powers plants and kept the food supply chain up and running. Eben Shapiro, Time, 15 Aug. 2021 Biden has made the development of a U.S. electric vehicle supply chain a key part of his plan to create more auto industry jobs. Tiffini Theisen, orlandosentinel.com, 5 Aug. 2021 Biden has made the development of a U.S. electric vehicle supply chain a key part of his plan to create more auto industry jobs. Tom Krisher, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Aug. 2021 Biden has made the development of a U.S. electric vehicle supply chain a key part of his plan to create more auto industry jobs. Tom Krisher And Aamer Madhani, chicagotribune.com, 5 Aug. 2021 Earlier Tuesday, Elsa swept past the Florida Keys but spared the low-lying island chain a direct hit. BostonGlobe.com, 8 July 2021 Earlier Tuesday, Elsa swept past the Florida Keys but spared the low-lying island chain a direct hit. Curt Anderson, USA TODAY, 8 July 2021

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

Time Traveler for chain

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near chain

Chaima

chain

Chain

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for chain

Last Updated

10 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Chain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chain. Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on chain

Nglish: Translation of chain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chain for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about chain

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

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!