Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


The leader or head of a group, especially of a clan or tribe.

[Middle English cheftain, from Old French chevetain, from Late Latin capitāneus, from Latin caput, head; see kaput- in Indo-European roots.]

chief′tain·cy n.
chief′tain·ship′ n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.chieftainship - the position of chieftain
berth, billet, post, situation, position, office, place, spot - a job in an organization; "he occupied a post in the treasury"
References in classic literature ?
To him who can win it, it shall be, and with it the chieftainship of the People of the Axe.
But suddenly Umslopogaas stood up, looking at him over the top of his war shield, and crying, "Here is one, O Jikiza, who will do battle with you for the axe Groan-Maker and for the chieftainship that is to him who holds the axe.
The most persistent was Du-seen, a huge warrior of whom my father stood in considerable fear, since it was quite possible that Du-seen could wrest from him his chieftainship of the Galus.
The fire that devastated the Red Crow College will delay the opening of an exhibit that focused on the Kainai Chieftainship and recently found a permanent home at the college after spending time at the Galt Museum in Lethbridge.
Some Tuscarora remained in North Carolina, nominally under chieftainship of Tom Blount in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Most of the leadership of independence movements was drawn from educated elites that did not aim to strengthen chieftainship systems but take over the nascent state structures implemented by the colonisers.
6) He distinguishes such ideological systems from mundane patterns of power that might more broadly be termed 'social hierarchies' --systems of achieved or hereditary rank, hierarchies of chieftainship or eldership or gender--seeing these as necessarily and fundamentally separate.
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Local Government, Chieftainship and Parliamentarian Affairs
The sultans in later years practiced a kingship far different from tribal chieftainship or prophetic governance, although in the early modem period they gained back a little of the religious aura the caliphs had claimed.
Nevertheless, the transformations from chieftainship or kingship politics to the politics of the modern day has shifted power to the ordinary citizens so he or she can now become engaged in and play in the political game.
Chief Kuol Deng inherited the Ngok Dinka Chieftainship from his brother Chief Moyak Deng who was also assassinated in 1970 by Sudan Government in Abyei town with others including his two brothers (Bulabek and Chan) and his uncle (Arop Mahdi).
Following his father's death, young Mandela became the Chief's ward and was groomed for the high office of chieftainship.