Pronunciation Noun

chief (plural chiefs)

  1. A leader or head of a group of people, organisation, etc. [from 13th c.]
    • 1994, Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, Abacus 2010, p. 4:
      My father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, was a chief by both blood and custom.
    All firefighters report to the fire chief.
  2. (heraldiccharge) The top part of a shield or escutcheon; more specifically, an ordinary consisting of the upper part of the field cut off by a horizontal line, generally occupying the top third. [from 15th c.]
    • 1889, Charles Norton Elvin, A Dictionary of Heraldry:
      When the Chief is Charged with any figure, in blazon it is said to be "On a Chief".
  3. The principal part or top of anything.
  4. An informal term of address, sometimes ironic.
    Hey, chief.
Synonyms Related terms Translations Translations Translations
  • French: chef
  • German: Schildhaupt
  • Italian: capo
  • Portuguese: chefe
  • Russian: глава́
  • Spanish: jefe

chief (comparative chiefer, superlative chiefest)

  1. Primary; principal.
    Negligence was the chief cause of the disaster.
  2. (Scotland) Intimate, friendly.
    • 2006, James Robertson: The Testament of Gideon Mack, p 324:
      'You’re doing it because she was your friend, not because she was a parishioner, and certainly not because of the Declaratory Articles,' Macmurray said, pushing himself forward on his seat. 'Everybody knows how chief you and she were. It was an unfitting relationship for a minister while she was alive, and it is equally unfitting for you to do her a favour like this now she's dead.'
Translations Verb

chief (chiefs, present participle chiefing; past and past participle chiefed)

  1. (US, slang) To smoke cannabis.
    • 2012, Marquis "Cream" Cureton, When the Smoke Clears (page 268)
      He chiefed on the bud like a pro, taking long deep hits and holding it within until he had inhaled as much of the weed smoke as he could.

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