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Related to chains: tire chains, Value Chains
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left to right: figaro, sash, and stud links


a. A connected, flexible series of links, typically of metal, used especially for holding objects together, for restraining, or for transmitting mechanical power.
b. Such a set of links, often of precious metal and with pendants attached, worn as an ornament or symbol of office.
c. often chains Football Such a set of links measuring ten yards and attached to a pole at each end, moved up and down the field to indicate necessary yardage for gaining a first down.
2. A restraining or confining agent or force.
3. chains
a. Bonds, fetters, or shackles.
b. Captivity or oppression; bondage: threw off the chains of slavery.
4. A series of closely linked or connected things: a chain of coincidences. See Synonyms at series.
5. A number of establishments, such as stores, theaters, or hotels, under common ownership or management.
6. A range of mountains.
7. Chemistry A series of chemically bonded atoms, especially carbon atoms, which may be arranged in an open, branched, or cyclic structure.
a. An instrument used in surveying, consisting of 100 linked pieces of iron or steel and measuring 66 feet (20.1 meters). Also called Gunter's chain.
b. A similar instrument used in engineering, measuring 100 feet (30.5 meters).
c. Abbr. ch A unit of measurement equal to the length of either of these instruments.
tr.v. chained, chain·ing, chains
1. To bind or make fast with a chain or chains: chained the dog to a tree.
2. To restrain or confine as if with chains: workers who were chained to a life of dull routine.
pull/yank (someone's) chain
To take unfair advantage of someone; deceive or manipulate someone.

[Middle English chaine, from Old French, from Latin catēna.]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.chains - metal shackles; for hands or legs
hamper, shackle, trammel, bond - a restraint that confines or restricts freedom (especially something used to tie down or restrain a prisoner)
plural, plural form - the form of a word that is used to denote more than one
References in classic literature ?
Roderigo rent his chains asunder manfully, and Hugo died in agonies of remorse and arsenic, with a wild, "Ha
Sailing across the bay to the Cheniere Caminada, Edna felt as if she were being borne away from some anchorage which had held her fast, whose chains had been loosening--had snapped the night before when the mystic spirit was abroad, leaving her free to drift whithersoever she chose to set her sails.
But thanks be to God, and my dear wife, my chains were broken, and now for ten years I have not tasted a drop, and never wish for it.
The veselija has come down to them from a far-off time; and the meaning of it was that one might dwell within the cave and gaze upon shadows, provided only that once in his lifetime he could break his chains, and feel his wings, and behold the sun; provided that once in his lifetime he might testify to the fact that life, with all its cares and its terrors, is no such great thing after all, but merely a bubble upon the surface of a river, a thing that one may toss about and play with as a juggler tosses his golden balls, a thing that one may quaff, like a goblet of rare red wine.
But just then I heard the harsh music of rusty chains and bolts, a light flashed in my eyes, and that butterfly, Clarence, stood before me
He has been in rigid bondage so long that the large liberty of the university life is just what he needs and likes and thoroughly appreciates; and as it cannot last forever, he makes the most of it while it does last, and so lays up a good rest against the day that must see him put on the chains once more and enter the slavery of official or professional life.
Handcuffs and chains would look still better on Jim, but it wouldn't go well with the story of us being so poor.
After a long wait the jury filed in and took their places; shortly afterward, Potter, pale and haggard, timid and hopeless, was brought in, with chains upon him, and seated where all the curious eyes could stare at him; no less con- spicuous was Injun Joe, stolid as ever.
This sort of thing made Emma Jane nervous and fidgety, but she was Rebecca's slave and hugged her chains, no matter how uncomfortable they made her.
how he thought, reasoned, felt, under the lash of the driver, with the chains upon his limbs
Scrooge then remembered to have heard that ghosts in haunted houses were described as dragging chains.
In the middle of the spear you must have two strong chains ten fathoms in length.