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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:
Adj.1.chained - bound with chains; "enchained demons strained in anger to gnaw on his bones"; "prisoners in chains"
bound - confined by bonds; "bound and gagged hostages"
References in classic literature ?
She heard the barking of an old dog that was chained to the sycamore tree.
The next moment, without any visible cause for the change, her unwonted joy shrank back, appalled, as it were, and clothed itself in mourning; or it ran and hid itself, so to speak, in the dungeon of her heart, where it had long lain chained, while a cold, spectral sorrow took the place of the imprisoned joy, that was afraid to be enfranchised, --a sorrow as black as that was bright.
But the bird has a voice, and with plaintive cries will make known her fear; but the fear of this vast dumb brute of the sea, was chained up and enchanted in him; he had no voice, save that choking respiration through his spiracle, and this made the sight of him unspeakably pitiable; while still, in his amazing bulk, portcullis jaw, and omnipotent tail, there was enough to appal the stoutest man who so pitied.
They say that the best dog will turn cross if he be kept chained all the time, and it was the same with the man; he had not a thing to do all day but lie and curse his fate, and the time came when he wanted to curse everything.
So 't was before we started, and I hadn't got my gang chained up; so what should she do but ups on a cotton-bale, like a cat, ketches a knife from one of the deck hands, and, I tell ye, she made all fly for a minit, till she saw 't wan't no use; and she jest turns round, and pitches head first, young un and all, into the river,--went down plump, and never ris.