- shackles or fetters: to place a prisoner in chains.
- bondage; servitude: to live one's life in chains.
- Nautical.(in a sailing vessel) the area outboard at the foot of the shrouds of a mast: the customary position of the leadsman in taking soundings.
- tire chain.
- a distance-measuring device consisting of a chain of 100 links of equal length, having a total length either of 66 feet (20 meters) (Gunter's chain or surveyor's chain) or of 100 feet (30 meters) (engineer's chain).
- a unit of length equal to either of these.
- a graduated steel tape used for distance measurements. Abbreviation: ch
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
Origin of chain
Synonyms for chain
Related Words for chainconglomerate, group, string, bracelet, cable, attach, shackle, handcuff, enslave, tether, confine, continuity, set, progression, sequence, alternation, concatenation, train, syndicate, trust
Examples from the Web for chain
Contemporary Examples of chain
You expect soldiers of all ranks to understand the need to respect the chain of command, regardless of personal feelings.We Need Our Police to Be Better Than This
December 31, 2014
Say what you want about Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F), the chain has done something special.Muslims & Jews Unite vs. Abercrombie & Fitch
December 16, 2014
She was also crudely nicknamed “La Boule” in a reference to the ball and chain.Sight Unseen: Cézanne’s Mysterious Wife
November 19, 2014
Cars swarm dangerously around them on this two-lane road carved, literally, into the side of a chain of mountains.Heart of Darkness: Into Afghanistan’s Taliban Valley
Matt Trevithick, Daniel Seckman
November 15, 2014
But the chain of death continued in the family after the burial of their mother.This Man Lost 35 Relatives to Ebola and His Community Wants Him Gone
Wade C.L. Williams
October 30, 2014
Historical Examples of chain
Blow it,” he said, taking off the chain, “my mouth is too full of slime.The Armourer's Prentices
Charlotte M. Yonge
It is possible that this is one link in the chain of influence which she was weaving around them.Ester Ried Yet Speaking
It must value men as men, not as functions of a chain of conventionalities.The Call of the Twentieth Century
David Starr Jordan
He opened the door an inch and I could see a chain between the crack.The Underdog
F. Hopkinson Smith
The chain and small brooch should be used if the hat pin is of much value.A Woman Tenderfoot
Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson
- a number of establishments such as hotels, shops, etc, having the same owner or management
- (as modifier)a chain store
Word Origin for chain
c.1300, from Old French chaeine "chain" (12c., Modern French chaîne), from Latin catena "chain" (source also of Spanish cadena, Italian catena), of unknown origin, perhaps from PIE root *kat- "to twist, twine" (cf. Latin cassis "hunting net, snare").
Figurative use from c.1600. As a type of ornament worn about the neck, from late 14c. Chain of stores is American English, 1846. Chain gang is from 1834; chain reaction is from 1916 in physics, specific nuclear physics sense is from 1938; chain mail first recorded 1822, in Scott, from mail (n.2). Before that, mail alone sufficed. Chain letter recorded from 1892; usually to raise money at first; decried from the start as a nuisance.
Nine out of every ten givers are reluctant and unwilling, and are coerced into giving through the awful fear of "breaking the chain," so that the spirit of charity is woefully absent. ["St. Nicholas" magazine, vol. XXVI, April 1899]
Chain smoker is attested from 1886, originally of Bismarck (who smoked cigars), thus probably a loan-translation of German Kettenraucher. Chain-smoking is from 1930.
late 14c., "to bar with a chain; to put (someone) in chains," also "to link things together," from chain (n.). Related: Chained; chaining.
In addition to the idioms beginning with chain
- chain reaction
- chain smoker
- ball and chain
- pull someone's chain