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

Examples of chiefly in a Sentence

Adverb our video collection consists chiefly of comedies, but we have a few horror movies
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Annette Gordon-reed, The New York Review of Books, 9 May 2022 The company reverted to its previous model of chiefly making shoes in Asia and South America to be closer to suppliers, and has no plans to try to move production to North America or Europe again, a spokesman said. Trefor Moss, WSJ, 6 May 2022 Still, the impact to borrowing costs in coming months will depend chiefly on the -- as yet undetermined -- pace of the Fed's rate hikes. Matt Egan, CNN, 4 May 2022 Since the start of the pandemic, Frankenmuth (population: 5,000) has had a similar influx of new residents, chiefly from the Detroit metro area, 80 miles south. New York Times, 14 Dec. 2021 The guests seem to run the gamut: Available now are interviews with Sister Helen Prejean, chiefly known as the leading American advocate against the death penalty, and André De Shields, the award-winning actor. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, 5 Jan. 2021 In Batuman’s case, this means hewing to the institutional forms provided by college life; were Zink writing chiefly about any of Bran’s friends, that would also be the case with Avalon. Claire Messud, Harper’s Magazine , 27 Apr. 2022 The human brain is hardwired chiefly to absorb visual content, which makes vivid images a more efficient and effective type of content. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2022 Prices are rising chiefly because surging demand for homes far outstrips supply, with housing inventories declining during the pandemic as builders pulled back on construction. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 26 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective After the British arrived, Tu, a scion of a chiefly family on Tahiti, dealt cleverly with the newcomers. Jeff Chu, Travel + Leisure, 30 Jan. 2022 Known to Samoans by her chiefly title of Fiame, the daughter of the country's original prime minister served as Samoa's first female cabinet minister from 1991 to 2006. Erin Spencer, Forbes, 19 May 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of chiefly


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1870, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for chiefly

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near chiefly



chief master sergeant

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Statistics for chiefly

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Chiefly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for chiefly


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on chiefly

Nglish: Translation of chiefly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chiefly for Arabic Speakers


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