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 sachemic (audio) , sa-​ \ adjective

Examples of sachem in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This was unlike Buster, who usually remains pretty stoically silent, like an elderly indigenous sachem. Washington Post, "Gene Weingarten: What’s for dinner? Ask the neighborhood cat.," 27 Nov. 2019 His secretary of state and secretary of the Treasury both submitted their resignations in the face of criticism from the sachems in Lincoln’s own party about the lack of success in the war against the Confederacy. Washington Post, "Gene Weingarten: When the steaks are high, you act on your gut," 5 Dec. 2019 When the pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1620, the sachem (chief) Ousamequin offered the new arrivals an entente, primarily as a way to protect the Wampanoags against their rivals, the Narragansetts. Claire Bugos, Smithsonian, "The Myths of the Thanksgiving Story and the Lasting Damage They Imbue," 27 Nov. 2019 They were led by skillful sachem-chiefs who maintained harmonious social relations among their clans. Roger Lowenstein, WSJ, "‘God, War, and Providence’ Review: When Conquest Was Puritanical," 13 June 2018

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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Time Traveler for sachem

Time Traveler

The first known use of sachem was in 1622

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Cite this Entry

“Sachem.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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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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