Definition of “chain” - English Dictionary

“chain” in English

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uk /tʃeɪn/ us /tʃeɪn/


B2 [ C ] a set of connected or related things:

She has built up a chain of 180 bookshops across the country.
His resignation was followed by a remarkable chain of events.

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chain noun (RINGS)

A2 [ C or U ] (a length of) rings usually made of metal that are connected together and used for fastening, pulling, supporting, or limiting freedom, or as jewellery:

The gates were locked with a padlock and a heavy steel chain.
Put the chain on the door if you are alone in the house.
Mary was wearing a beautiful silver chain around her neck.
in chains

tied with chains:

The hostages were kept in chains for 23 hours a day.

[ plural ] a fact or situation that limits a person's freedom:

At last the country has freed itself from the chains of the authoritarian regime.

chainverb [ T usually + adv/prep ]

uk /tʃeɪn/ us /tʃeɪn/

to fasten someone or something using a chain:

It's so cruel to keep a pony chained up like that all the time.
They chained themselves to lampposts in protest at the judge's decision.
figurative I don't want a job where I'm chained to a desk for eight hours a day.

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

“chain” in American English

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chainnoun [ C ]

us /tʃeɪn/

chain noun [ C ] (CONNECTED RINGS)

a length of metal rings that are connected together and used for fastening or supporting, and in machinery:

She looped the chain around her bike and locked it to the fence.

A chain is also a length of connected rings worn as jewelry:

Mary wore a silver chain around her neck.

chain noun [ C ] (RELATED THINGS)

a set of connected or related things:

a mountain chain
a chain of supermarkets
That set in motion a chain of events that changed her life forever.

chainverb [ T ]

us /tʃeɪn/

chain verb [ T ] (ATTACH)

to tie or connect together with a chain:

An old bicycle was chained to a post near the front door.

If you are chained to something, you work for long periods with it:

I had no intention of spending my day chained to the stove.

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

“chain” in Business English

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chainnoun [ C ]

uk /tʃeɪn/ us

COMMERCE a group of similar businesses, such as restaurants or hotels, which are all owned and controlled by the same organization:

hotel/supermarket/fast-food chain The well-known fast-food chain has expanded to over 20,000 restaurants in 17 countries.

a system of people, processes, or organizations that work together in a particular order:

This unit examines the stages in the chain of production of tea, from the leaves in Sri Lanka to the cup in the UK.
chain of command/power/authority Employee complaints were taken all the way up the corporate chain of command.

UK PROPERTY a situation in which someone cannot complete the sale of their house because the person who wants to buy it needs to sell their house first:

Some house sellers refuse to exchange contracts with buyers who are in a chain

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