chief

adjective
\ˈchēf \

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 \-​dəm \ noun
chiefship \-​ˌship \ 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

But the chief function of these devices is to provide a wide selection of apps, an intuitive user experience, and great-looking video. Chris Welch, The Verge, "The best streaming video player to buy right now," 30 Nov. 2018 Inslee was the chief cheerleader of the largest corporate tax break in U.S. history, $8.7 billion to woo Boeing’s 777 plant here. Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times, "If Jay Inslee runs for president, his biggest accomplishment may be his undoing," 28 Nov. 2018 Connie's soul-deep characters have served as some of the chief entertainment for millions of families' lazy weekends and snowy afternoons. Lindsey Benoit O'connell, Redbook, "Connie Britton Shares Her Rules for a Totally Chill Holiday Season," 29 Oct. 2018 Donatella has been the public face of the brand since her brother's murder in 1997, serving as both the company's chief designer and vice president. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "How Much Is Donatella Versace Worth?," 25 Sep. 2018 But the department’s new chief reversed course and cleared Wollschlager. Charles Rabin, Jay Weaver And David Ovalle, miamiherald, "The chief wanted perfect stats, so cops were told to pin crimes on blacks, probe found," 12 July 2018 According to the Times, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, reached out to Klobuchar to discuss the legislation. Makena Kelly, The Verge, "Bombshell Facebook report raises new campaign finance questions," 15 Nov. 2018 Many chief financial officers were caught off-guard by the sudden drop in the U.K. pound against the U.S. dollar and the euro after the referendum vote in June 2016. Nina Trentmann, WSJ, "Companies Prepare for Currency Gyrations Amid Brexit Turmoil," 15 Nov. 2018 Repetition without risk is the core value of VR training, according to Logan Mulvey, the company’s chief customer officer. Patrick Sisson, Vox, "In Walmart’s virtual reality simulation, Black Friday never ends," 15 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And at Claridge’s, fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg and British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful co-hosted the Zodiac party, a celestial bash to toast the hotel’s Christmas tree, created by von Furstenberg. Vogue, "Diane von Furstenberg and Edward Enninful Host One Celestial Bash at Claridge’s," 30 Nov. 2018 By the time of the ruling, DeepMind had already redrawn its contracts with the NHS, and the unit’s chief, Mustafa Suleyman, reassured the public of its intentions. James Vincent, The Verge, "Privacy advocates sound the alarm after Google grabs DeepMind UK health app," 14 Nov. 2018 Jon Clausen, the tactics chief for the 40th, seeing past the rough texture and piles of crap left behind by the wild horses that roam this Army base. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The C-130J Super Hercules Is Ready for the Worst," 9 Oct. 2018 David McGill, chief of the Sedona Police Department. Perry Vandell, azcentral, "Peoria's search for new police chief down to four finalists," 14 July 2018 During his roughly two-year tenure as chief, 29 of 30 burglary cases were solved, including all 19 in 2013. Charles Rabin, Jay Weaver And David Ovalle, miamiherald, "The chief wanted perfect stats, so cops were told to pin crimes on blacks, probe found," 12 July 2018 Nuon Chea, 92, was Pol Pot’s deputy and chief ideologue. James Hookway, WSJ, "U.N. Tribunal for First Time Finds Former Khmer Rouge Leaders Guilty of Genocide," 16 Nov. 2018 Ahmad al-Assiri, the kingdom’s deputy intelligence chief, was indicted by the Saudis but not sanctioned by the US on Thursday. Alex Ward, Vox, "Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it.," 15 Nov. 2018 Inclusion, or making employees feel valued and comfortable at work, is a necessary and important piece of the puzzle, said Kathleen Hogan, the company’s human-resources chief. Rachel Lerman, The Seattle Times, "Microsoft sees modest upticks in representation of women, minority employees," 14 Nov. 2018

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

Adjective

see chief entry 3

Noun

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

3 Dec 2018

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 \

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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