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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
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.
In this study area, first settlers were hunters, gatherers and subsistence farmers who delimited large lands (including woodlands) and considered these as under their control based on family clan lineage and traditional leaders of Mutema and Musikavanhu chieftainship (Moyana, 1984), who in turn exerted customary ownership rights including use, allocation and intergenerational transmission common for the non-gazetted forestry and communal lands of Zimbabwe (Madondo, 2000).
He, however, said President Masisi had demonstrated that he was a reformist who respected chieftainship.
Look at it from the position of African chieftainship where the chief never bows to another from a neighbouring community.
Though in a way it is the natural conclusion of the character's progression in the novel--it's the end of the Maichi's chieftainship and the end of his life--what in this conclusion is a kind of creation or "renaming"?
New forms of governance were introduced, undermining the traditional African chieftainship where a traditional leader played the role of political, religious, social and spiritual functions (Agbakoba, 2004).
The chieftainship was last held by his ancestral kinsman, John Buchanan, until his death without a male heir in 1681.
(2012) 'Tamale 1907-1957: between colonial trade and colonial chieftainship'.
However, Mandela gave up his claim to chieftainship, choosing to become a lawyer instead.