sa·​chem | \ ˈsā-chəm How to pronounce sachem (audio) , ˈsa- How to pronounce sachem (audio) \

Definition of sachem

1 : a North American Indian chief especially : the chief of a confederation of the Algonquian tribes of the North Atlantic coast
2 : a Tammany leader

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Other Words from sachem

sachemic \ sā-​ˈche-​mik How to pronounce sachem (audio) , sa-​ \ adjective

Examples of sachem in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Staten Island’s last unbought parcel was sold, in 1670, by a Raritan sachem named Pierwim. Joshua Jelly-schapiro, The New Yorker, "How New York Was Named," 13 Apr. 2021 The building was set to open as the Shawmut Center, with arena seats stamped with the bank’s classic logo of sachem Obbatinewat, a native North American. Kevin Paul Dupont,, "Once again, NHL leads the way in selling its game," 9 Jan. 2021 To fund political activities, the sachem collected tribute from the people in the form of crops, furs, game, and labor. National Geographic, "Massasoit's strategic diplomacy kept peace with the Pilgrims for decades," 19 Nov. 2020 After losing about half their people during the harsh winter months, the colonists in 1621 finally received a visit from Samoset, a visiting Abenaki sachem, or leader, who happened to speak English. Debra Utacia Krol, The Arizona Republic, "After 400 years, Indigenous people reflect on the real story of the 'first Thanksgiving'," 25 Nov. 2020 In the summer of 1621, a dissident Wampanoag sachem named Corbitant, backed by other leaders from Cape Cod and the islands, threatened Ousamequin’s life and briefly took Tisquantum captive. National Geographic, "Massasoit's strategic diplomacy kept peace with the Pilgrims for decades," 19 Nov. 2020 Per the trust’s Facebook page, the island derives its name from a Monomoyick sachem, or chief, named John Sipson. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Cape Cod Island Opens to the Public for the First Time in 300 Years," 31 July 2020 Bradford called in a favor from his main indigenous ally, Massasoit, the Wampanoag sachem, to act as an emissary and deployed the colony’s limited supply of trade goods to retrieve the wayward youth. Jon T. Coleman, Smithsonian Magazine, "Ten Curious Cases of Getting Lost in the Wilderness," 12 Aug. 2020 Not since the 24-acre island off the coast of Cape Cod was bought by early English colonists from the sachem, the leader of the local Monomoyicks Native Americans, members of the region's Wampanoag Nation. Peter Mikelbank,, "Private Island Off Cape Cod Opens to Public for the First Time in 300 Years," 29 July 2020

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

1622, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sachem

Narragansett sâchim

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Statistics for sachem

Last Updated

18 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sachem.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for sachem


sa·​chem | \ ˈsā-chəm How to pronounce sachem (audio) \

Kids Definition of sachem

: a North American Indian chief

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