I. chain 1 S3 W2 /tʃeɪn/ BrE AmE noun
[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: chaeine , from Latin catena ]
1 . JOINED RINGS [uncountable and countable] a series of metal rings which are joined together in a line and used for fastening things, supporting weights, decoration etc ⇨ link :
She had a gold chain around her neck.
a length of heavy chain
the Mayor’s chain of office (=a decoration worn by some British officials at ceremonies)
pull the chain British English (=flush the toilet)
a bicycle chain (=that makes the wheels turn) ⇨ ↑ jewellery
2 . CONNECTED EVENTS [countable] a connected series of events or actions, especially which lead to a final result:
the chain of events that led to World War I
The salesmen are just one link in the chain (=part of a process) of distribution.
a rather complicated chain of reasoning
⇨ ↑ chain of command , ↑ food chain
3 . SHOPS/HOTELS [countable] a number of shops, hotels, cinemas etc owned or managed by the same company or person
a chain of restaurants
hotel/restaurant/retail etc chain
several major UK supermarket chains
⇨ ↑ chain store
4 . CONNECTED LINE [countable] people or things which are connected or next to each other forming a line
the Andean mountain chain
chain of atoms/molecules etc technical :
a chain of amino acids
They formed a human chain (=a line of people who pass things from one person to the next) to move the equipment.
daisy chains (=flowers tied together)
5 . PRISONERS [countable usually plural] metal chains fastened to the legs and arms of a prisoner, to prevent them from escaping
He was led away in chains.
ball and chain (=a chain attached to someone’s ankle at one end with a heavy metal ball at the other)
6 . BUYING A HOUSE [countable usually singular] British English a number of people buying houses, where each person must complete the sale of their own house before they can buy the next person’s house
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 3)
■ types of chain
▪ a big/major/large chain
It is one of Europe’s biggest clothing chains.
▪ a hotel chain
Hilton is an international hotel chain.
▪ a supermarket chain
Many people buy all their food at one of the major supermarket chains.
▪ a retail chain (=one whose business is buying and selling goods)
Large retail chains usually want to expand and build more stores.
▪ a department store/video store/food store etc chain
Morgan was the owner of a computer store chain.
▪ a restaurant chain
the Pizza Hut restaurant chain
▪ a grocery chain
These are two of Florida’s largest grocery chains.
▪ a fast-food chain
the fast-food chain, Burger King
▪ a national/nationwide chain
He was head of a national chain of grocery stores.
▪ be part of a chain
The hotel is part of the MacDonald chain.
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 4)
■ types of chain
▪ a mountain chain
The town of Besançon lies at the end of the Jura mountain chain.
▪ an island chain
the island chain from Asia to Australasia
▪ a human chain (=a large number of people who form a line, a circle etc to do something)
Riot police formed human chains to block demonstrators.
▪ a chain of atoms/molecules etc technical:
Most fabrics are made of long chains of molecules.
▪ form a chain
They formed a human chain passing buckets of water to the fire.
• • •
▪ mountain a very high hill:
the highest mountain in Austria
▪ hill an area of land that is higher than the land around it, which is like a mountain but smaller and usually has a rounded top:
We went for a walk in the hills.
The house is surrounded by woods, farmland and gentle hills.
▪ Mount ( also Mt written abbreviation ) used in the names of mountains. Don’t say ‘Fuji Mountain’ – say ‘Mount Fuji’ :
▪ cliff the steep side of an area of land, often next to the sea:
the white cliffs of Dover
▪ precipice especially literary a very steep and dangerous cliff:
They were standing on the edge of a precipice.
▪ crag a high steep rock or mountain:
An eagle sailed over the high crags.
▪ ridge a long narrow area of high ground, especially at the top of a mountain:
I could see a group of climbers high up on a ridge.
▪ knoll a small round hill:
a grassy knoll
▪ volcano a mountain with a large hole at the top, through which ↑ lava (=hot liquid rock) is sometimes forced out:
the eruption of a volcano
▪ summit the very highest point of a mountain:
the summit of Mt Everest
▪ peak especially literary the top of a mountain:
the snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas
a distant peak
▪ range/chain a group of mountains or hills arranged in a line:
the mountain range that is part of the border between Norway and Sweden
▪ foothills a group of smaller hills below a range of high mountains:
the Sierra foothills
II. chain 2 BrE AmE verb
1 . [transitive] to fasten someone or something to something else using a chain, especially in order to prevent them from escaping or being stolen
chain somebody/something to something
a bicycle chained to the fence
Four activists chained themselves to the gates.
chain somebody/something up
The elephants were chained up by their legs.
chain somebody/something together
Their hands and feet were chained together.
2 . be chained to something to have your freedom restricted because of something you must do:
She felt chained to the kitchen sink.
I don’t want a job where I’m chained to a desk all day.