The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Chain \Chain\ (ch[=a]n), n. [F. cha[^i]ne, fr. L. catena. Cf.
1. A series of links or rings, usually of metal, connected,
or fitted into one another, used for various purposes, as
of support, of restraint, of ornament, of the exertion and
transmission of mechanical power, etc.
[They] put a chain of gold about his neck. --Dan. v.
2. That which confines, fetters, or secures, as a chain; a
bond; as, the chains of habit.
To chains of darkness and the undying worm.
3. A series of things linked together; or a series of things
connected and following each other in succession; as, a
chain of mountains; a chain of events or ideas.
4. (Surv.) An instrument which consists of links and is used
in measuring land.
Note: One commonly in use is Gunter's chain, which consists
of one hundred links, each link being seven inches and
ninety-two one hundredths in length; making up the
total length of rods, or sixty-six, feet; hence, a
measure of that length; hence, also, a unit for land
measure equal to four rods square, or one tenth of an
5. pl. (Naut.) Iron links bolted to the side of a vessel to
bold the dead-eyes connected with the shrouds; also, the
6. (Weaving) The warp threads of a web. --Knight.
Chain belt (Mach.), a belt made of a chain; -- used for
Chain boat, a boat fitted up for recovering lost cables,
(a) (Naut.) The bolt at the lower end of the chain plate,
which fastens it to the vessel's side.
(b) A bolt with a chain attached for drawing it out of
Chain bond. See Chain timber.
Chain bridge, a bridge supported by chain cables; a
Chain cable, a cable made of iron links.
Chain coral (Zool.), a fossil coral of the genus
Halysites, common in the middle and upper Silurian
rocks. The tubular corallites are united side by side in
groups, looking in an end view like links of a chain. When
perfect, the calicles show twelve septa.
(a) A shackle for uniting lengths of chain, or connecting
a chain with an object.
(b) (Railroad) Supplementary coupling together of cars
with a chain.
Chain gang, a gang of convicts chained together.
Chain hook (Naut.), a hook, used for dragging cables about
Chain mail, flexible, defensive armor of hammered metal
links wrought into the form of a garment.
Chain molding (Arch.), a form of molding in imitation of a
chain, used in the Normal style.
Chain pier, a pier suspended by chain.
Chain pipe (Naut.), an opening in the deck, lined with
iron, through which the cable is passed into the lockers
Chain plate (Shipbuilding), one of the iron plates or
bands, on a vessel's side, to which the standing rigging
Chain pulley, a pulley with depressions in the periphery of
its wheel, or projections from it, made to fit the links
of a chain.
Chain pumps. See in the Vocabulary.
Chain rule (Arith.), a theorem for solving numerical
problems by composition of ratios, or compound proportion,
by which, when several ratios of equality are given, the
consequent of each being the same as the antecedent of the
next, the relation between the first antecedent and the
last consequent is discovered.
Chain shot (Mil.), two cannon balls united by a shot chain,
formerly used in naval warfare on account of their
destructive effect on a ship's rigging.
Chain stitch. See in the Vocabulary.
Chain timber. (Arch.) See Bond timber, under Bond.
Chain wales. (Naut.) Same as Channels.
Chain wheel. See in the Vocabulary.
Closed chain, Open chain (Chem.), terms applied to the
chemical structure of compounds whose rational formul[ae]
are written respectively in the form of a closed ring (see
Benzene nucleus, under Benzene), or in an open
Endless chain, a chain whose ends have been united by a