Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: 'head, chief', from Latin caput 'head'

chief

2 noun
     
Related topics: Government
chief2 W3 [countable]
1

somebody in charge of an organization

the most important person, or one of the most important people, in a company or organization - used especially in job titles and in news reports
police/army/fire etc chief
Los Angeles Police Chief Willie L. Williams
chief of
the British Chief of Defence Staff
Most health chiefs believe the reforms have gone too far.
industry chiefs
commander-in-chief/editor-in-chief etc (=used in job titles for people with the highest rank)
They offered him the position of editor-in-chief.
2

ruler of tribe

PG the ruler of a tribe:
the Zulu leader, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Native American tribal chiefs
3

too many chiefs and not enough Indians

British English used to say there are too many people saying how something should be done and not enough people doing it
4

great white chief

British English old-fashioned the person in charge of a group of people, company, organization etc - used humorously

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