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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.
Media reports pertaining to the Jan 17 incident suggested that MPA Sardar Chandio and his supporters within his tribe took the Tumandar Council, a social welfare organisation, as a challenge to the chieftainship of Sardar Chandio although the two families are politically affiliated with the PPP.
He said after completing his term in the next six weeks,he would continue to work with Batswana as he would be taking his chieftainship role as Bangwato kgosi Kgolo and would honour invitations concerning bogosi and other community activities.
Our special thanks go to the Mutema and Musikavanhu local communal village chieftainship for the logistical support for data collection.
This study was conducted via: library research to find out what has been done in the field of indigenous knowledge systems particularly nhimbe and development/economic growth; fieldwork undertaken in Musikavanhu chieftainship in the Chipinge district and in the villages of Manzvire, Gumira and Muumbe.
In all of these polities-acephalous anarchy, chieftainship, monarchies, oligarchies, democracies and modem totalitarian state- (the stability of the body politic representing the analysis, enactment and supervising individual and collective bodies in the reproductive behaviour, health, labour or other forms of deviance), "rests on its ability to regulate populations (the social body) and to discipline individual bodies" (Scheper-Hughes, Lock, 1987: 8).
Building on this, Thomas Spear points out that colonial territorial chieftainship had to be perceived as legitimate in order for it to be accepted (Spear 2003: 4).
Because traditionally, law and order has been the responsibility of chieftainship in our traditional societies.
It is the days when there was no strong chieftainship, the tribes still ate each other" (Moeti 8).