1. One who is highest in rank or authority; a leader.
a. A chief petty officer.
b. Nautical The chief engineer of a ship.
3. Slang A supervisor; a boss.
4. Heraldry The upper section of a shield.
1. Highest in rank, authority, or office: the chief scientist in the lab.
2. Most important or influential: the chief ingredients in the stew. See Usage Note at absolute.
[Middle English chef, from Old French, from Latin caput, head; see kaput- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: chief, foremost, leading1, main, primary, prime, principal
These adjectives refer to what is first in rank, importance, or influence: his chief concern; the foremost scholar in her field; the leading cause of heart disease; the main building on campus; the primary purpose of the legislation; a prime example of wasteful spending; the principal figures in the plot.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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