- 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 authority2. Archaic the most valuable or main part of anything3. Heraldry the upper third of a shield4. [usually C-] Naut. a chief engineer or chief petty officeradj.1. highest, as in rank or office; foremost [the chief magistrate]2. most important or significant; main; principal [the chief advantages]adv.Archaic chieflychiefly——————in chief1. in the chief position; of highest title or authority [editor in chief]2. Archaic chieflychiefdomn.SYN.- CHIEF is applied to the person or thing first in rank, authority, importance, etc., and usually connotes subordination of all others [his chief problem was getting a job ]; PRINCIPAL is applied to the person who directs or controls others [a principal clerk ] or to the thing or person having precedence over all others by reason of size, position, importance, etc. [the principal products of Africa ]; MAIN, in strict usage, is applied to the thing, often part of a system or an extensive whole, that is preeminent in size, power, importance, etc. [the main line of a railroad ]; LEADING stresses capacity for guiding, conducting, or drawing others [a leading light, question, etc. ]; FOREMOST suggests a being first by having moved ahead to that position [the foremost statesman of our time ]; CAPITAL1 is applied to that which is ranked at the head of its kind or class because of its importance or its special significance [the capital city ] -ANT. SUBORDINATE, SUBSERVIENT
English World dictionary. V. Neufeldt. 2014.