- the head or leader of an organized body of people; the person highest in authority: the chief of police.
- the head or ruler of a tribe or clan: an Indian chief.
- (initial capital letter) U.S. Army. a title of some advisers to the Chief of Staff, who do not, in most instances, command the troop units of their arms or services: Chief of Engineers; Chief Signal Officer.
- Informal. boss or leader: We'll have to talk to the chief about this.
- the upper area of an escutcheon.
- an ordinary occupying this area.
- highest in rank or authority: the chief priest; the chief administrator.
- most important; principal: his chief merit; the chief difficulty.
- Archaic. chiefly; principally.
- in chief,
- in the chief position; highest in rank (used in combination): editor in chief; commander in chief.
- Heraldry.in the upper part of an escutcheon.
Origin of chief
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for chiefest
It was Latin, she said, and it meant "the chiefest among sinners."Tiverton Tales
In the sheer youth of her (he realized) more than in aught else, lay her chiefest charm.The Black Bag
Louis Joseph Vance
And so I have shown you whence the first and chiefest delight of man's life springs.The Praise of Folly
Her society was his chiefest joy, and it is said that he ever remained faithful to her.Henry IV, Makers of History
John S. C. Abbott
For this I hoped, for my life as it had become was no longer my chiefest good.The Memoires of Casanova, Complete
Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
- the head, leader, or most important individual in a group or body of people
- another word for chieftain (def. 2)
- heraldry the upper third of a shield
- in chief primarily; especially
- most important; principal
- highest in rank or authority
- archaic principally
Word Origin and History for chiefest
c.1300, "highest in rank or power; most important or prominent; supreme, best," from Old French chief "chief, principal, first" (10c., Modern French chef), from Vulgar Latin *capum (also source of Spanish and Portuguese cabo, Italian capo, Provençal cap), from Latin caput "head," also "leader, guide, chief person; summit; capital city" (see capitulum).
c.1300, "head, leader, captain; the principal or most important part of anything;" from Old French chief "leader, ruler, head" of something, "capital city" (10c., Modern French chef), from Vulgar Latin *capum, from Latin caput "head," also "leader, chief person; summit; capital city" (see capitulum). Meaning "head of a clan" is from 1570s; later extended to American Indian tribes. Commander-in-chief attested from 1660s.