chain gang


a group of convicts chained together, especially when working outside.

Origin of chain gang

First recorded in 1825–35 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chain gang

Historical Examples of chain gang

  • My idea was to let that chain-gang get out of sight before I climbed the hill.

    Heart of Darkness

    Joseph Conrad

  • There were upward of two hundred of us, and they let us out like a chain-gang, one by one.

    The Coast of Chance

    Esther Chamberlain

  • To begin: why did you send those four prisoners out with the chain-gang?

    The Free Lances

    Mayne Reid

  • In half an hour the chain-gang starts for the mines, and you are one of them.

    The Slave of the Mine

    Bracebridge Hemyng

  • From the vessel I observed the chain-gang at work on the levee.

    Twelve Years a Slave

    Solomon Northup

British Dictionary definitions for chain gang

chain gang


US a group of convicted prisoners chained together, usually while doing hard labour
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