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.
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.
2. The principal part; the most valuable portion.
The chief of the things which should be utterly
destroyed. --1 Sam. xv.
3. (Her.) The upper third part of the field. It is supposed
to be composed of the dexter, sinister, and middle chiefs.
(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