chiefdom

noun
chief·​dom | \ ˈchēf-dəm How to pronounce chiefdom (audio) \

Definition of chiefdom

1 : the position or office of a chief : leadership Mandla Mandela's rise was a great source of pride for Mr. Mandela, who wrote of the pain of his father losing his chiefdom after a dispute with colonial authorities.— Lydia Polgreen Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), who started off as a bumbling weakling in need of draconic pedagogy, has now ascended to the chiefdom of the wacky Viking village of Berk.— Chris McCoy
2 : a region or a people ruled by a chief The Timucua lived along the northern Atlantic coast of the Florida peninsula …. Although they were somewhat unified linguistically, speaking a dozen or so dialects of one language family, they were politically divided into as many as fifty distinct chiefdoms.— Christopher M. Stojanowski However, some tribes and even chiefdoms consist of herders who move seasonally.— Jared Diamond

First Known Use of chiefdom

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of chiefdom was in 1566

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Cite this Entry

“Chiefdom.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chiefdom. Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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