Meaning of CHAIN in English


I. ˈchān noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English cheyne, from Old French chaeine, from Latin catena chain, brace; akin to Latin cassis net and perhaps to Old English heathor confinement, Old Norse hadda chain of rings



(1) : a series of usually metal links or rings connected to or fitted into one another so as to move freely, forming a flexible ligament used for various purposes (as support, restraint, or transmission of mechanical power), and made in many forms and sizes, the size usually being designated by the thickness of the links (as a half-inch chain made of bar metal half an inch in diameter)

cable chain

bicycle chain

a bridle with a chain snaffle

a harness with a chain trace

— see bicycle illustration

(2) : a mesh of interconnected rods and plates that is often in the form of a belt and is used especially for transmission of power or as a conveyor

b. : a series of links used or worn as an ornament or insignia : collar 1g

he wore a gold chain of office around his neck


(1) : a measuring instrument that consists of 100 links joined together by rings and is used in surveying — see engineer's chain , gunter's chain ; compare tape 2c

(2) : a unit of length equal to 66 feet — see gunter's chain

d. : tire chain — usually used in plural

e. : a chain 10 yards in length used for measuring the first-down distance in football


a. : a chain used as an obstruction to the passage of traffic (as in a street, river, or harbor entrance) — compare boom II 6

b. : something that confines, restrains, or secures : bond , fetter

ignorance is … a chain on your mind — Lyman Bryson

c. chains plural : manacles or fetters linked with chain ; also : imprisonment , captivity

wept with me when I returned in chains — Alfred Tennyson

d. : door chain


a. : a continuous series of things, events, or conceptions in which each succeeding member depends upon (as for causal agency or motive impulse), derives from, or interrelates with the preceding

a vast chain of creatures stretching down from … the Deity … to the grades of men, animals, plants, and minerals — S.F.Mason

chain of events

chain of thought

chain reasoning in which the conclusion of one argument is used in the premise of the next

b. : a continuous line or series of things connected or adjacent to one another: as

(1) : a range of mountains

(2) : a series of events in a temporal order usually connected causally

a chain of strikes in the steel industry

(3) : a diagonal arrangement of connected pawns in chess

(4) : a line of dancers with hands linked

(5) : ladies chain


(1) : a group of enterprises, establishments, institutions, or constructions of the same kind or function linked together into a single system usually under a single ownership, management, or control

a chain of 100 grocery stores

a chain of weather stations

a chain of highways

(2) : network 5a

d. : a number of atoms united like links in a chain ; especially : open chain — see branched chain , side chain , straight chain ; compare ring I 18

e. : a system of rigid links (sense 2c) pivoted or otherwise movably connected each to one or more others in such a way that their motions are interdependent

4. chains plural : the structure composed of channels, chain plates, and deadeyes to which the shrouds of a mast are fastened and in which the leadsman stands in making a cast of the lead — see ship illustration

5. : warp I 1a

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English cheynen, from cheyne, n.

transitive verb

1. : to fasten, bind, or connect with a chain : fetter or restrain with a chain : put in chains


a. : to bind, fasten, or hold fast as if with a chain

the audience, chained to their seats by terror

b. : to hold back, repress, or restrict the movement, function, or change of

you may chain the law down with all manner of clamps and bonds — B.N.Cardozo

: make or hold captive : confine

buried now and lost in silent pools, now in strong eddies chained — William Wordsworth

3. : to obstruct or protect (as a harbor) by a chain

4. : to measure with a surveying chain

5. : to make a series of (chain stitches) in crocheting — abbr. ch

intransitive verb

1. : to form or join in a chain

2. : to perform a ladies chain in square dancing

III. adjective

Etymology: chain (I)

1. : performed, occurring, or acting in a connected series

chain reader of murder mysteries — Louise Mace

2. : gathering force or increasing with each successive step : cumulative

chain effects that may ultimately affect the whole country

3. : characterized by uniformity : stereotyped

strive against chain thinking and acting — Harlow Shapley

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.