[ 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


chief·tain·cy, chief·tain·ship, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for chieftain

British Dictionary definitions for chieftain

/ (ˈtʃiːftən, -tɪn) /


the head or leader of a tribe or clan
the chief of a group of people

Derived forms of chieftain

chieftaincy or chieftainship, noun

Word Origin for chieftain

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