in chief


From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Chief \Chief\ (ch[=e]n), n. [OE. chief, chef, OF. chief, F.
   chef, fr. L. caput head, possibly akin to E. head. Cf.
   Captain, Chapter]
   1. The head or leader of any body of men; a commander, as of
      an army; a head man, as of a tribe, clan, or family; a
      person in authority who directs the work of others; the
      principal actor or agent.
      [1913 Webster]

   2. The principal part; the most valuable portion.
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            The chief of the things which should be utterly
            destroyed.                            --1 Sam. xv.
                                                  21
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   3. (Her.) The upper third part of the field. It is supposed
      to be composed of the dexter, sinister, and middle chiefs.
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   In chief.
      (a) At the head; as, a commander in chief.
      (b) (Eng. Law) From the king, or sovereign; as, tenure in
          chief, tenure directly from the king.

   Syn: Chieftain; captain; general; commander; leader; head;
        principal; sachem; sagamore; sheik.

   Usage: Chief, chieftain, Commander, Leader. These
          words fluctuate somewhat in their meaning according to
          circumstances, but agree in the general idea of rule
          and authority. The term chief is now more usually
          applied to one who is a head man, leader, or commander
          in civil or military affairs, or holds a hereditary or
          acquired rank in a tribe or clan; as, the chief of
          police; the chief of an Indian tribe. A chieftain is
          the chief of a clan or tribe, or a military leader. A
          commander directs the movements of or has control over
          a body of men, as a military or naval force. A leader
          is one whom men follow, as in a political party, a
          legislative body, a military or scientific expedition,
          etc., one who takes the command and gives direction in
          particular enterprises.
          [1913 Webster]
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