Meaning of “chief” in the English Dictionary

"chief" in British English

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chiefadjective [ before noun ]

uk /tʃiːf/ us /tʃiːf/

chief adjective [ before noun ] (MOST IMPORTANT)

B2 most important or main:

The chief problem we have in the area now is the spread of disease.
The weather was our chief reason for coming here.

More examples

  • My chief concern is to prevent any spread of the disease.
  • Coffee and rice are the country's chief exports.
  • Cars are the chief reason for the city's pollution levels.
  • You must try to relax and not to worry - that's the chief thing.
  • The chief suspect for the robbery is a Caucasian male.

chiefnoun [ C ]

uk /tʃiːf/ us /tʃiːf/

(Definition of “chief” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"chief" in American English

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chiefadjective [ not gradable ]

us /tʃif/

chief adjective [ not gradable ] (MOST IMPORTANT)

most important:

Their chief objection to the appointment was that she had no judicial experience.

chief adjective [ not gradable ] (PERSON IN CHARGE)

highest in position or power:

He is chairman and chief executive of the company.

chiefnoun [ C ]

us /tʃif/

chief noun [ C ] (PERSON IN CHARGE)

the person in charge of a group or organization, or the ruler of a tribe (= a group of families):

the chief of police

(Definition of “chief” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"chief" in Business English

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chiefadjective

uk /tʃiːf/ us

biggest or most important; main:

Our chief concern right now is getting all these goods out onto the shelves.
Coffee and rice are the country's chief exports.

chiefnoun [ C ]

uk /tʃiːf/ us

a person who is in charge of a group or organization:

a police/fire chief
the chief of police

(Definition of “chief” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)