chief#


chief#
chief n Chief, chieftain, head, headman, leader, master are comparable when they mean the person in whom resides authority or ruling power but they differ in their applications and associations.
Chief is the most comprehensive of these terms, being applicable as a general term to anyone from an absolute monarch to one's immediate superior
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the chief of a court of inquisition was called the grand inquisitor

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the chargé d'affaires reports daily to his chief

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Usually, however, the term is applied specifically to one who is supreme in power or authority over a tribe or clan
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an Indian chief

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or to the superior officer in a civil department
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fire chief

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chief of police

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or to one who is vested with authority and power to act by the organization over which he presides
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the chairmen of the national committees of the leading political parties are virtually party chiefs

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The phrase in chief is often added to a title, held by two or more, to indicate the one who is the first in authority
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commander in chief

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editor in chief

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Chieftain has never obtained the generality of chief, and still usually carries implications derived from its early and still leading application to the chief of a tribe, a clan, or of a primitive, savage, or barbaric group
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the chieftain's plaid

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a robber chieftain

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Head, though seemingly as comprehensive as chief, is applied most frequently to the person of a group who serves as its chief executive or on whose shoulders the responsibility finally rests
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the head of the family

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the head of a school

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the British prime minister is actually the head of the government

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the head of a department

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Headman comes close to chieftain in that it usually applies to the person who serves as the chief of his tribe or village; the term, even more than chieftain, implies a condition of savagery or barbarism.
Leader implies headship, sometimes of a nation or people but more often of an organized body (as a political party, a society, or a band of musicians) or of an informal assembly (as of persons or animals)
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a rangy red steer was the leader of the stampede

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The term usually implies a capacity for guidance, direction, or for the assumption of full control and of winning the support of those under one
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the leader of an orchestra

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the leader of the opposition in the British parliament

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Master, on the other hand, applies to a head who has another or others under him subject to his direction or control and necessarily obedient to his will: the term stresses his authority rather than his capacity for guidance
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a man cannot serve two masters

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In general use the term is applied as a designation to an employer of servants and to the head of a school or of a class. It is also applied generally to anyone who exerts great and controlling influence over others or who is regarded as one to be followed or obeyed. The chief specific use of master is as the title of the person qualified to command a merchant vessel; in this use it is commonly superseded by captain as a courtesy title.
Analogous words: governor, ruler (see corresponding verbs at GOVERN)
Contrasted words: *follower, disciple, henchman, adherent, satellite
chief adj Chief, principal, main, leading, foremost, capital mean first in importance or in standing.
Chief is applicable to a person that serves as the head of his class or group or to a thing that stands out as above all the rest of its class or kind in rank, importance, dignity, or worth; the term therefore usually implies the subordination of all others
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chief justice of the supreme court

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president of a republic is its chief magistrate

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the cathedral is the chief church of a diocese

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the chief topic of conversation

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duty, not pleasure, is the chief aim of living— Glasgow

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Principal is applicable to whatever is the first in order of power or importance, and so is applied chiefly to a person to whom is given direction, control, or government of others or to a thing (or person thought of as a thing) that, because of its size, its position, or its intrinsic importance precedes all others of its class or kind
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the principal dancer in a ballet

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the principal keeper in a prison

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the principal gate to the grounds of an institution

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the principal streets of a city

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the principal witness against the accused

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a chicken stew of which the principal ingredient was not chicken but sea cucumber— Steinbeck

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Main is applicable to something (often a part, unit, or division of a large or extensive thing) that excels all the others of its class or kind in size, potency, or importance
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the main line of a railroad

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the main street of a small city

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the mainland

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words have been used so long as the main channel for communication— Day Lewis

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the literary critic . . . will yet find, like the historian, his main subject matter in the past— L. P. Smith

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Leading, like principal, implies precedence, but it often distinctively implies, in addition, a capacity or fitness for drawing others, for guiding them, or for giving a particular quality or character to a movement
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the leading men of the city

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he had been the leading counsel for the seven Bishops— Macaulay

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the leading automobile in a procession

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another leading object in education for efficiency is the cultivation of the critical discernment of beauty and excellence in things and in words and thoughts, in nature and in human nature— Eliot

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Foremost differs from leading, which it otherwise closely resembles, in its stronger implication of being first in an advance or progressive movement; it is preferable for that reason whenever there is a suggestion of the person's or thing's having forged ahead to that position
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one of us, that struck the foremost man of all this world— Shak.

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"handedness," of course, is the foremost primate characteristic—La Barre

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Capital is applicable to a thing that stands at the head of its class or kind because of its importance, its significance, its excellence, or its seriousness
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a capital plan

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his capital offense was that he had omitted to mention her at all

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the seven capital sins are the most important sins theologically not because they are the worst sins but because they lead to other sins and are fatal to spiritual progress

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with a little managing . . . she would have gained every point as easily as she had gained the capital one of taking the foundling baby under her wing— Wharton

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Analogous words: *dominant, paramount, sovereign, predominant, preponderant, preponderating: *primary, prime: *supreme, preeminent
Antonyms: subordinate
Contrasted words: secondary, dependent, subject (see SUBORDINATE): subservient, ancillary, subsidiary, *auxiliary

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chief — may refer to: Contents 1 Title or rank 2 Aircraft 3 Media 3.1 …   Wikipedia

  • chief — chief; chief·dom; chief·ery; chief·ess; chief·less; chief·tain; chief·tain·cy; chief·tain·ess; chief·tain·ry; chief·tain·ship; chief·tess; co·chief; cov·er·chief; hand·ker·chief; head·ker·chief; ker·chief·like; mis·chief·ful; neck·er·chief;… …   English syllables

  • chief — I noun boss, captain, caput, chairman, chairperson, chief controller, chieftain, commandant, commander, directing head, director, dux, employer, foreman, foreperson, general, head, headman, headperson, highest ranking person, leader, manager,… …   Law dictionary

  • Chief — (ch[=e]n), n. [OE. chief, chef, OF. chief, F. chef, fr. L. caput head, possibly akin to E. head. Cf. {Captain}, {Chapter}] 1. The head or leader of any body of men; a commander, as of an army; a head man, as of a tribe, clan, or family; a person… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Chief — 〈[ tʃi:f] m. 6; umg.〉 Anführer, Chef ● wer ist hier der Chief? [engl.] * * * Chief [tʃi:f ], der; s, s [engl. chief < afrz. chief (= frz. chef), ↑ Chef]: engl. Bez. für: Leiter, Oberhaupt; Häuptling. * * * Chief …   Universal-Lexikon

  • chief — [chēf] n. [ME chef, chief, leader < OFr < VL * capum < L caput, HEAD] 1. the head or leader of a group, organization, etc.; person of highest title or authority 2. Archaic the most valuable or main part of anything 3. Heraldry the upper… …   English World dictionary

  • Chief — Chief, a. 1. Highest in office or rank; principal; head. Chief rulers. John. xii. 42. [1913 Webster] 2. Principal or most eminent in any quality or action; most distinguished; having most influence; taking the lead; most important; as, the chief… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Chief — [tʃi:f] der; s, s <aus gleichbed. engl. chief, dies aus altfr. chief (fr. chef), vgl. ↑Chef> engl. Bez. für Chef, Oberhaupt, Häuptling …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • chief — c.1300 (n. and adj.), from O.Fr. chief leader, ruler, head of something, capital city (10c., Mod.Fr. chef), from L.L. capum, from L. caput head, also leader, chief, person, summit, capital city (Cf. Sp., Port. cabo, It. capo; see HEAD (Cf. head)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • chief — CIF/ s. m. şef, conducător. (< engl. chief) Trimis de raduborza, 15.09.2007. Sursa: MDN …   Dicționar Român


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