chief

adjective
\ ˈchēf How to pronounce chief (audio) \

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 \ ˈchēf-​dəm How to pronounce chiefdom (audio) \ noun
chiefship \ ˈchēf-​ˌship How to pronounce chiefship (audio) \ 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

The state of the Palace of Westminster, the home of the U.K. parliament, seems to be of chief concern. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "MPs Warn that the U.K.'s Parliament Building is Vulnerable to a Notre-Dame-Like Fire," 17 Apr. 2019 And Goessling’s 11 years as executive director and chief legal counsel of the conservative Southeastern Legal Foundation tells a story that raises serious concerns. Teen Vogue, "Shannon Goessling, Trump’s Pick to Lead the Office on Violence Against Women, Has a Troubling Record," 18 Mar. 2019 In support of Cohen, David Lauren, the youngest son of Ralph and the chief innovation officer at the company, gathered an illustrious group to the flagship store of the brand founded by his father a half-century ago. Ian Malone, Vogue, "Jeff Koons and Monica Lewinsky Attend a Book Party Honoring Accidental Presidents at Ralph Lauren," 3 Apr. 2019 Goop’s chief content officer Elise Leohman told me. Elizabeth Nicholas, Vogue, "The Top Takeaways from 2019’s In Goop Health Summit," 12 Mar. 2019 The news comes after Raf Simons’ departure as chief creative officer in December. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Calvin Klein Is Reportedly Shutting Down Its Runway Collection," 6 Mar. 2019 Brett Biggs, Walmart’s chief financial officer told analysts on an earnings call Tuesday, ticking off economic tail winds like lower gas prices and rising wages. Anne D'innocenzio, The Seattle Times, "Walmart flexes in the fourth quarter, beats all expectations," 20 Feb. 2019 Jane Kaye, a former chief financial officer at two New Jersey hospitals, tells SELF. Mattie Quinn, SELF, "8 Ways to Negotiate and Pay Off Expensive Medical Bills," 15 Feb. 2019 Variety reports that the 30-minute episodes will be hosted by Goop's site editors, chief content officer Elise Loehnen, and Gwyneth. Maya Mcdowell, House Beautiful, "Everything We Know So Far About Gwyneth Paltrow’s 'Goop' Series On Netflix," 6 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

If his wife excels in her slavering devotion to the commander-in-chief, her spouse is just as ferocious in his condemnation of the president. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: “This Is the End of My Presidency!”," 21 Apr. 2019 The plan, according to Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos, is to have The Crown run for six seasons and cover Queen Elizabeth's entire life. Glamour, "Everything We Know So Far About The Crown Season 3," 9 Apr. 2019 The company approached Marvel Comics, whose editor-in-chief loved the idea and handed it off to a low-level editor, Larry Hama. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "Yo, Joe: How a 12-Inch Soldier Doll Became a Toy Legend," 9 Apr. 2019 According to Helmand council chief, Attahullah Afghan, the attack on the army outpost took place in Sangin district on Friday. Amir Shah, The Seattle Times, "Afghan official: Taliban killed 33 troops, police in Helmand," 25 Mar. 2019 The case for optimism on 2 degrees The forum also includes a response from economist Michael Grubb, a professor at University College London and editor-in-chief of the journal Climate Policy. David Roberts, Vox, "The case for “conditional optimism” on climate change," 29 Jan. 2019 Ireland, who has since been promoted to deputy chief, found that the officers complied with policy. Kate Brumback, Fox News, "Lawyers: Officials conspired to hide info about arrest," 27 Aug. 2018 That was a lot in historical context — the previous 11 presidents, going back to the creation of the position in 1946 under Harry S. Truman, had had a combined 25 chiefs. Dara Lind, Vox, "There is always a Trump tweet, chiefs of staff edition," 8 Dec. 2018 Ex police chief Goncalo Amaral, who had been leading the search before he was taken off the case in October 8, wrote a book suggesting the couple faked Madeleine’s abduction. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Who Are Madeleine McCann's Parents? What to Know About Kate and Gerry McCann," 14 Mar. 2019

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

Noun and Adjective

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

23 Apr 2019

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 How to pronounce chief (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on chief

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chief

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chief

Spanish Central: Translation of chief

Nglish: Translation of chief for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chief for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about chief

Comments on chief

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