- 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 chieftainship
Historical Examples of chieftainship
It was a mode of declaring who was to have the chieftainship, in succession to the Testator.Ancient Law
Sir Henry James Sumner Maine
They intimated to him that in all probability he would soon be elevated to the chieftainship.Among the Sioux
R. J. Creswell
No wonder the Indian that slew him was a brave and in the line of chieftainship!The Conquest
Eva Emery Dye
Idling, he pointed out, was not the way to qualify for chieftainship.The Myths of the North American Indians
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
- 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.