- 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
Examples from the Web for chieftaincy
Historical Examples of chieftaincy
Though there were a number older than he, they acknowledged his chieftaincy.The Night-Born
"Shanklin, as the previous newest man, grabbed back the chieftaincy," he plunged ahead.The Devil's Asteroid
Manly Wade Wellman
When the Old King died without any sons, a contest arose over the successorship to the chieftaincy.Stories of the Badger State
Reuben Gold Thwaites
Taggarak asked Deerfoot whether he should give up his chieftaincy, and was ready to do whatever the Shawanoe advised.Deerfoot in The Mountains
Edward S. Ellis
My own chieftaincy I could demit without regret, knowing that it would fall into your hands.The Captain of the Janizaries
James M. Ludlow
- the head or leader of a tribe or clan
- the chief of a group of people
Word Origin for chieftain
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.