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[chest] /tʃɛst/
Anatomy. the trunk of the body from the neck to the abdomen; thorax.
a box, usually with a lid, for storage, safekeeping of valuables, etc.:
a toy chest; a jewelry chest.
the place where the funds of a public institution or charitable organization are kept; treasury; coffer.
the funds themselves.
a box in which certain goods, as tea, are packed for transit.
the quantity contained in such a box:
a chest of spices.
a small cabinet, especially one hung on a wall, for storage, as of toiletries and medicines:
a medicine chest.
get (something) off one's chest, Informal. to relieve oneself of (problems, troubling thoughts, etc.) by revealing them to someone.
play it close to the chest. vest (def 16).
Origin of chest
before 900; Middle English; Old English cest, cist < Latin cista < Greek kístē box
Related forms
[chest-foo l] /ˈtʃɛst fʊl/ (Show IPA),
Can be confused
celibate, chased, chaste, chest. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for chest
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He had ample girth of chest at the cinches, where lung capacity is best measured.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • Winkleman puffed out his chest and protruded his great beard.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • "Kill me, Managa," I cried, smiting my chest as I stood facing him.

    Green Mansions W. H. Hudson
  • They had evidently just landed, and two men were lifting out a chest from the boat.

  • It lay untouched in the bottom of his chest, sailor-fashion.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
British Dictionary definitions for chest


  1. the front part of the trunk from the neck to the belly related adjective pectoral
  2. (as modifier): a chest cold
(informal) get something off one's chest, to unburden oneself of troubles, worries, etc, by talking about them
a box, usually large and sturdy, used for storage or shipping: a tea chest
Also chestful. the quantity a chest holds
  1. the place in which a public or charitable institution deposits its funds
  2. the funds so deposited
a sealed container or reservoir for a gas: a wind chest, a steam chest
Derived Forms
chested, adjective
Word Origin
Old English cest, from Latin cista wooden box, basket, from Greek kistē box
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for chest

Old English cest "box, coffer, casket," from Proto-Germanic *kista (cf. Old Norse and Old High German kista, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, German kiste, Dutch kist), an early borrowing from Latin cista "chest, box," from Greek kiste "a box, basket," from PIE *kista "woven container." Meaning extended to "thorax" 1520s, replacing breast (n.), on the metaphor of the ribs as a box for the organs. Chest of drawers is from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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chest in Medicine

chest (chěst)
The part of the body between the neck and the abdomen, enclosed by the ribs and the breastbone; thorax.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for chest


Related Terms

play close to the chest

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with chest
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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