chief

adjective
\ˈchēf \

Definition of chief 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 : accorded highest rank or office chief librarian the company's chief executive

2 : of greatest importance or influence the chief reasons their chief accomplishment

chief

adverb

Definition of chief (Entry 2 of 3)

archaic

chief

noun

Definition of chief (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : the upper part of a heraldic field

2 : the head of a body of persons or an organization : leader chief of police

3 : the principal or most valuable part would never rest till she had read the chief of the letter to him— Jane Austen

in chief

: in the chief position or place often used in titles commander in chief

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Other Words from chief

Noun

chiefdom \-dəm \ noun
chiefship \-ˌship \ noun

Examples of chief in a Sentence

Adjective

the chief engineer on the project Her job is their chief source of income. He has many concerns, chief among them his health.

Noun

the chief of the estate was left to the eldest son our chief is out on a business trip right now
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

United, specifically chief decision maker Ed Woodward, have been hell bent on signing Bale since 2013, even outbidding Real when the player left Tottenham to move to Spain. SI.com, "Man Utd in 'Advanced' Talks Over Gareth Bale Deal as Real Madrid Prepare for Post-Ronaldo Overhaul," 12 July 2018 Amanpour, the chief international correspondent for CNN, was on assignment and Rubin, then the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, was traveling with Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright. Aurelie Corinthios, PEOPLE.com, "CNN's Christiane Amanpour and Husband Jamie Rubin Are Divorcing After 20 Years," 11 July 2018 Hamels' 20-team no-trade list is chief among them, and the $20 million club option for 2019 that comes with a $6 million buyout is another. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Rangers continue to talk trades, but are they getting anywhere?," 9 July 2018 After Micheli’s arrest in the killing, Howell, the chief federal judge, and council member Allen each summoned District officials to address the continuing errors involving federal inmates detained at D.C. facilities. Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post, "An alleged murder by absconding inmate prompts relocation of D.C. Jail prisoners to Virginia," 13 July 2018 This is likely due to one of the chief medical dangers facing the boys while trapped below ground: a lack of oxygen. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Four More Thai Boys Rescued From Cave, Bringing Number Up to 8," 9 July 2018 Sorensen will take on the duties of interim chief operations officer, HLI said Friday. Bradley J. Fikes, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Human Longevity names interim CEO," 13 July 2018 The Democratic National Committee hired Raffi Krikorian, a former Uber executive, as its chief technology officer last year. New York Times, "4,500 Tech Workers, 1 Mission: Get Democrats Elected," 13 July 2018 Before leaving Burberry, former chief creative officer Christopher Bailey reimagined Burberry’s signature tartan check for his final show in January, which was dedicated to LGBTQ+ youth, by adding a rainbow overlay. Aubri Juhasz, The Cut, "Burberry’s Latest Collab Is Full of Cool Kids in Rainbow Check," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Raisani is the brother of the former Baluchistan chief minister, Aslam Raisani. NBC News, "More than 100 people killed in Pakistan election violence," 14 July 2018 His younger brother, Shahbaz, the chief minister of Pakistan’s most populous province, Punjab, has long argued for one. The Economist, "Pakistan’s former prime minister embraces jail to rally his party," 12 July 2018 Israel’s military chief visited the border area for briefings and the Security Cabinet, Israel’s top decision-making body, is expected to convene Sunday to discuss further actions. Aron Heller, BostonGlobe.com, "Israel exchanges intense fire with Hamas militants in Gaza," 14 July 2018 Raisani is the brother of the former Baluchistan chief minister, Aslam Raisani. NBC News, "More than 100 people killed in Pakistan election violence," 14 July 2018 Raisani is the brother of the former Baluchistan chief minister, Aslam Raisani. Zaheer Babar And Abdul Sattar, chicagotribune.com, "74 dead in election violence in Pakistan," 13 July 2018 Trump refused to take a question from the network's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta. Jeremy Barr, The Hollywood Reporter, "Trump in U.K.: "I Don't Take Questions From CNN"," 13 July 2018 These suppositions are unduly charitable toward Makan Delrahim, the department’s antitrust chief. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Why an Antitrust Farce Must Continue," 13 July 2018 Staff from the county’s Bureau of Highways in the Department of Public Works review all roads in the county to determine which are most in need of repavement, according to deputy bureau chief Kris Jagarapu. Kate Magill, Howard County Times, "Howard County to fund $20 million in road, sidewalk, traffic improvements," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chief.' 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 chief

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for chief

Adjective

see chief entry 3

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French chief, chef head, chief, from Latin caput head — more at head

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Dictionary Entries near chief

chide

chidingly

chidra

chief

chief constable

chiefery

chiefess

Statistics for chief

Last Updated

24 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chief

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

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More Definitions for chief

chief

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of chief

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: highest in rank or authority

: most important

chief

noun

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

: the person who is the leader of a group of people, of an organization, etc.

chief

noun
\ˈchēf \

Kids Definition of chief

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the head of a group : leader the chief of police

in chief

: in the highest ranking position or place editor in chief

chief

adjective

Kids Definition of chief (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : highest in rank or authority chief executive

2 : most important : main a chief reason

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Comments on chief

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