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 titlescommander in chief

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from chief

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder and the company’s chief financial officer, at Vancouver’s airport in late 2018. Jim Morris, Star Tribune, "Canadian extradition judge deals Huawei CFO legal blow," 9 Oct. 2020 Disney World employs about 77,000 workers in the Orlando area and generates more than $700 million in sales-tax revenue for Florida, according to the state’s chief financial officer. R.t. Watson, WSJ, "Why Disney World Is Open but Disneyland Is Closed," 9 Oct. 2020 Hallmark’s chief marketing officer, Lindsey Roy, said business from hallmark.com increased threefold this year, which Roy attributed to demand for greeting cards. Katie Surma, chicagotribune.com, "Got stamps? Pandemic is fueling a boom in greeting card sales and some are pretty cheeky," 9 Oct. 2020 Crosby, a 27-year veteran of the BWC who most recently served as Cincinnati claims director, succeeds Patricia Harris, who has been promoted to chief operating officer. Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland, "Larry Householder, FirstEnergy face $1 million defamation lawsuit from ex-candidate: Capitol Letter," 8 Oct. 2020 Jackson, Alaska’s chief procurement officer until 1999, spoke to the committee along with former assistant attorney generals Jim Baldwin and Ross Kopperud. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "State may have illegally directed $5 million contract, former officials tell Alaska Legislature," 8 Oct. 2020 Ajit Gopalakrishnan, the department’s chief performance officer, said the state is requiring districts for the first time to share attendance information at the student level for every prior month, instead of at the end of the year. Amanda Blanco, courant.com, "Education commissioner continues to encourage in-person learning; 421 students and 143 school staff in Connecticut have tested positive for coronavirus," 8 Oct. 2020 In a statement from its chief medical officer, Dr. Albert Rizzo, the ALA provided information about how COVID-19 symptoms progress, how long recovery usually takes and how to avoid infecting others. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "'The messaging has to be based on trust': American Lung Association seeks to dispel COVID-19 misinformation," 8 Oct. 2020 Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, was joined by health minister Edward Argar in the virtual meeting for more than 100 cross-party members of Parliament on Thursday, two people familiar with matter said. Emily Ashton, Bloomberg.com, "U.K. Chief Medic Briefs MPs as Johnson Readies New Lockdowns," 8 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Chris Hogan, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Aerosol Science, said products like the Care Cove must account for a lot of variables inside the device, including the patient’s blood oxygen level as well as the air pressure and carbon dioxide. Hallie Miller, baltimoresun.com, "After being given a grocery bag to intubate a coronavirus patient, Baltimore doctor created a new PPE product," 9 Oct. 2020 Barrett is editor-in-chief of the journal Dreaming, which in its September issue posted four new reports on how the sleeping brain has incorporated the threat of COVID-19. Benedict Carey New York Times, Star Tribune, "Dreams shifted over course of pandemic," 8 Oct. 2020 Wired magazine editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson reports. CBS News, "This week on "Sunday Morning" (October 11)," 8 Oct. 2020 As part of Marie Claire's Power On virtual summit, actress Taraji P. Henson sat down for a live conversation with Marie Claire editor-in-chief Sally Holmes. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Taraji P. Henson Explains Why We Must "Be Careful" About Terms Like "Black Girl Magic"," 8 Oct. 2020 John Tyler was elected vice president in 1840, but he was thrust into the role of commander-in-chief when President William Henry Harrison died just one month into office. Phil Gast, CNN, "Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. dies 175 years after his grandfather, John Tyler, left the White House," 8 Oct. 2020 There’s more public speculation than there was four years ago about the presidential nominees' health and age; consequently, there’s going to be more attention on whether Harris and Pence look like plausible commanders in chief. David Weigel, Anchorage Daily News, "Analysis: What to expect in the Pence-Harris debate based on their past performances," 7 Oct. 2020 Trump's advisers, meanwhile, have sought to downplay his infection and portray the commander-in-chief as fully focused on his job. Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY, "Why the Russians may know more about Trump's health and COVID diagnosis than the American public," 7 Oct. 2020 Isidore Cohn, who was born Sept. 25, 1921, served as chairman of the department of surgery at the LSU School of Medicine and as surgeon-in-chief of the LSU Service at Charity Hospital from 1962 to 1989. Staff Report, NOLA.com, "GNOF plans to use donation to finance arts award program," 7 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chief

Time Traveler for chief

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for chief

Last Updated

15 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Chief.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chief. Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for chief

chief

adjective
How to pronounce chief (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on chief

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!