WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
chain /tʃeɪn/USA pronunciation   n. 
  1. a series of metal rings passing through one another, used for hauling, for supporting, or as decoration: [countable]Fixing the bicycle chain was a greasy, dirty job.[uncountable]Buy a long length of chain for the motor.
  2. Nautical, Naval Termschains,
    • [countable;  used with a plural verb] strong, usually metal rings attached to a prisoner's hands or feet.
    • [uncountable;  usually, in + ~] bondage;
      servitude: to live one's life in chains.
  3. [countable] a series of things connected one after the other: See if you can reconstruct the chain of events leading up to the murder.
  4. Geography[countable] a range of mountains one after the other.
  5. Business a number of businesses under one ownership or management:[countable]a hotel chain.
  6. Surveying[countable] a unit of length equal to 100 feet (30 m) or 66 feet (20 m), used by surveyors.

v. [+ object]
  1. to fasten, tie up, or confine with or as if with a chain:They chained the prisoners together.[+ object + up]They chained the prisoners up.[+ up + object]She chained up her dogs at night.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
chain  (chān),USA pronunciation  n. 
  1. a series of objects connected one after the other, usually in the form of a series of metal rings passing through one another, used either for various purposes requiring a flexible tie with high tensile strength, as for hauling, supporting, or confining, or in various ornamental and decorative forms.
  2. Often,  chains. something that binds or restrains;
    bond:the chain of timidity; the chains of loyalty.
  3. Nautical, Naval Termschains: 
    • shackles or fetters:to place a prisoner in chains.
    • bondage;
      servitude:to live one's life in chains.
    • [Naut.](in a sailing vessel) the area outboard at the foot of the shrouds of a mast: the customary position of the leadsman in taking soundings.
    • AutomotiveSee  tire chain. 
  4. a series of things connected or following in succession:a chain of events.
  5. a range of mountains.
  6. Businessa number of similar establishments, as banks, theaters, or hotels, under one ownership or management.
  7. Chemistrytwo or more atoms of the same element, usually carbon, attached as in a chain. Cf. ring1 (def. 17).
  8. [Survey., Civ. Engin.]
    • Surveyinga distance-measuring device consisting of a chain of 100 links of equal length, having a total length either of 66 ft. (20 m)(Gunter's chain or surveyor's chain) or of 100 ft. (30 m)(engineer's chain).
    • Surveyinga unit of length equal to either of these.
    • Surveyinga graduated steel tape used for distance measurements. Abbr.: ch
  9. MathematicsSee  totally ordered set. 
  10. Sport[Football.]a chain 10 yd. (9 m) in length for determining whether a first down has been earned.
  11. British Terms, Idiomsdrag the chain, [Australian Slang.]to lag behind or shirk one's fair share of work.
  12. Nautical, Idioms, Naval Termsin the chains, standing outboard on the channels or in some similar place to heave the lead to take soundings.

  1. to fasten or secure with a chain:to chain a dog to a post.
  2. to confine or restrain:His work chained him to his desk.
  3. Surveyingto measure (a distance on the ground) with a chain or tape.
  4. Computingto link (related items, as records in a file or portions of a program) together, esp. so that items can be run in sequence.
  5. Clothingto make (a chain stitch or series of chain stitches), as in crocheting.

  1. to form or make a chain.
chainless, adj. 
chainlike′, adj. 
  • Latin catēna fetter; see catena
  • Old French chaeine
  • Middle English chayne 1250–1300
    • 4.See corresponding entry in Unabridged sequence, succession, train, set.

Chain  (chān),USA pronunciation n.  Sir Ernst Boris  (ûrnst, ernst),USA pronunciation 1906–79, English biochemist, born in Germany: Nobel prize for medicine 1945.

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

chain /tʃeɪn/ n
  1. a flexible length of metal links, used for confining, connecting, pulling, etc, or in jewellery
  2. (usually plural) anything that confines, fetters, or restrains: the chains of poverty
  3. Also called: snow chains (usually plural) a set of metal links that fit over the tyre of a motor vehicle to increase traction and reduce skidding on an icy surface
  4. a number of establishments such as hotels, shops, etc, having the same owner or management
  5. (as modifier): a chain store
  6. a series of related or connected facts, events, etc
  7. a series of deals in which each depends on a purchaser selling before being able to buy
  8. Also called: Gunter's chain a unit of length equal to 22 yards
  9. Also called: engineer's chain a unit of length equal to 100 feet
  10. two or more atoms or groups bonded together so that the configuration of the resulting molecule, ion, or radical resembles a chain
  11. a series of natural features, esp approximately parallel mountain ranges
  12. off the chainAustral NZ informal free from responsibility
  13. jerk someone's chain, yank someone's chaininformal to tease, mislead, or harass someone
  1. (transitive) often followed by up: to confine, tie, or make fast with or as if with a chain
Etymology: 13th Century: from Old French chaine, ultimately from Latin; see catena

Chain /tʃeɪn/ n
  1. Sir Ernst Boris. 1906–79, British biochemist, born in Germany: purified and adapted penicillin for clinical use; with Fleming and Florey shared the Nobel prize for physiology or medicine 1945

'chain' also found in these entries:
Collocations: [provoked, caused, was] a chain reaction, [resend, forward] a chain [message, email, letter], is the chain [manager, director], more...

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