chief·​ly | \ ˈchē-flē How to pronounce chiefly (audio) \

Definition of chiefly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : most importantly : principally, especially
2 : for the most part : mostly, mainly



Definition of chiefly (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to a chief chiefly duties

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Examples of chiefly in a Sentence


our video collection consists chiefly of comedies, but we have a few horror movies

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Other videos during the hearing show Schwarzman being interviewed on a curb, briefly by a police officer and then chiefly by emergency medical personnel. Cody Boteler,, "Motion to suppress evidence in case that killed 5-year-old and her grandmother in Timonium is denied," 3 July 2019 Many of those homes require repairs because a chemical known as pyrrhotite was used in the concrete when the homes were constructed, chiefly in eastern Connecticut. Christopher Keating,, "Relief for homeowners with crumbling foundations," 6 June 2019 The differences between the two sides persist, chiefly around North Korea demanding serious sanctions relief and the U.S. wanting radical steps toward denuclearization, which neither are prepared to offer. NBC News, "Trump's Iran policy is deepening mistrust in North Korea, experts say," 29 June 2019 Additionally, anything that hasn’t already been diagnosed—rashes, dryness, sensitivity, and brown spots, chiefly—should be seen by a derm first, Carolyn Jacob, M.D., a clinical instructor of dermatology at Northwestern University, tells SELF. Sara Coughlin, SELF, "How to Know If You Should See an Esthetician or a Dermatologist," 18 June 2019 One of them, Moe (Kiana Madeira), differs in a few ways in the show from the novel, chiefly in that Moe is short for Maureen in the Trinkets book. Martha Sorren,, "Trinkets Fans Will Have To Find Moe's Real Name In The Source Material," 15 June 2019 There’s a lot going on here, chiefly the clashing of present and past: Madeline is now, Mary Louise is then. Soraya Roberts, Longreads, "The View From 5-Foot-3 (and a Half)," 15 June 2019 The reason for the delay was chiefly me — or, more specifically, my concern over what time off could cost my freelance career. Nicole Spector, NBC News, "Yes, you can take a vacation when you're self-employed. Here's how to do it.," 12 June 2019 His lead appears to be driven chiefly by name recognition., "Troubling portents for Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders as 2020 Democratic presidential race heats up, new polls arrive," 10 June 2019

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1870, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for chiefly

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chiefly

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

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More Definitions for chiefly



English Language Learners Definition of chiefly

: mainly or mostly


chief·​ly | \ ˈchē-flē How to pronounce chiefly (audio) \

Kids Definition of chiefly

1 : above all : most importantly We're chiefly concerned with safety.
2 : for the most part Owls are active chiefly at night.

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More from Merriam-Webster on chiefly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chiefly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chiefly

Nglish: Translation of chiefly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chiefly for Arabic Speakers

Comments on chiefly

What made you want to look up chiefly? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

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