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90s Slang You Should Know


[cheef-tuh n, -tin] /ˈtʃif tən, -tɪn/
the chief of a clan or a tribe.
a leader of a group, band, etc.:
the robbers' chieftain.
(initial capital letter) Military. Britain's main battle tank since 1969, fitted with a 120mm gun and two machine guns and weighing 55 tons (50 metric tons).
Origin of chieftain
1275-1325; Middle English cheftayne, variant of chevetaine < Old French < Late Latin capitāneus captain
Related forms
chieftaincy, chieftainship, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for chieftainship
Historical Examples
  • On my mother's side I had some noted ancestors, but they left me no chieftainship.

    Indian Heroes and Great Chieftains [AKA Ohiyesa], Charles A. Eastman
  • They intimated to him that in all probability he would soon be elevated to the chieftainship.

    Among the Sioux R. J. Creswell
  • She lost her air of command, her sense of chieftainship, and sat humbly at the feet of this shining visitor from the East.

    The Forester's Daughter Hamlin Garland
  • No wonder the Indian that slew him was a brave and in the line of chieftainship!

    The Conquest Eva Emery Dye
  • This chieftainship is one of the largest of the States, and comprises about twelve thousand square miles.

    The Pacification of Burma Sir Charles Haukes Todd Crosthwaite
  • Idling, he pointed out, was not the way to qualify for chieftainship.

  • In consequence he was cut off from the succession to the chieftainship, and publicly flogged.

    Stanley in Africa James P. Boyd
  • He knows they are planning for his removal from the chieftainship.

    Wigwam and War-path; Or the Royal Chief in Chains A. B. (Alfred Benjamin) Meacham
  • Has a white man come to fight me for the chieftainship of the People of the Axe?

    She and Allan H. Rider Haggard
  • They were the first tribe of old, and had the first chieftainship.

    The Indian in his Wigwam Henry R. Schoolcraft
British Dictionary definitions for chieftainship


/ˈtʃiːftən; -tɪn/
the head or leader of a tribe or clan
the chief of a group of people
Derived Forms
chieftaincy, chieftainship, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French chevetaine, from Late Latin capitāneus commander; see captain
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 chieftainship



early 14c., cheftayne "ruler, chief, head" of something, from Anglo-French chiefteyn, Old French chevetain "captain, chief, leader," from Late Latin capitaneus "commander," from Latin capitis, genitive of caput "head" (see capitulum). According to "Rob Roy" (1818) a Highland chieftain was the head of a branch of a clan, a chief was the head of the whole name. Related: Chieftainship.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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