Definition of chain noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//tʃeɪn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//tʃeɪn//
    Types of stores, Buying a home
    jump to other results
    metal rings
  1. 1  [countable, uncountable] a series of connected metal rings, used for pulling or fastening things; a length of chain used for a particular purpose a short length of chain She wore a heavy gold chain around her neck. The mayor wore his chain of office. a bicycle chain The prisoners were kept in chains (= with chains around their arms and legs, to prevent them from escaping). see also choke chain
  2. connected things
  3. 2  [countable] a series of connected things or people to set in motion a chain of events a chain of command (= a system in an organization by which instructions are passed from one person to another) mountain/island chains Volunteers formed a human chain to rescue precious items from the burning house. see also food chain
  4. of shops/hotels
  5. 3  [countable] a group of shops/stores or hotels owned by the same company a chain of supermarkets/a supermarket chain See related entries: Types of stores
  6. restriction
  7. 4[countable, usually plural] (formal or literary) a thing that restricts somebody’s freedom or ability to do something the chains of fear/misery
  8. in house buying
  9. 5[countable, usually singular] (British English) a situation in which a number of people selling and buying houses must each complete the sale of their house before buying from the next person See related entries: Buying a home
  10. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French chaine, chaeine, from Latin catena ‘a chain’.Extra examples Let the dog off its chain. Our suppliers are the weakest link in the chain. Put the chain on the door before you go to bed. She wore a long gold chain around her neck. The mayor was wearing his chain of office. The people formed a human chain to pass the supplies up the beach. The prisoner was led away in chains. There has been an unbroken chain of great violinists in the family. They kept the dog on a chain all day long. This hotel is part of a large chain. a chain of clothes shops a chain of department stores a chain of volcanic islands efforts to ensure that dioxins do not enter the food chain the complex chain of events that led to the war I was next in the chain of command. If any part of the chain of infection is broken, the spread of the disease will be stopped. It’s important to make sure the chain of communication is not broken. Middlemen are important links in the chain. She was personally involved in this chain of events. Volunteers formed a human chain to pass buckets of water to each other.Idioms a problem that prevents you from doing what you would like to do one of the stages in a process or a line of argument Food production, processing and marketing are different links in the chain from farmer to consumer. Death is the last link in the chain.
    the weak link (in the chain)
    jump to other results
    the point at which a system or an organization is most likely to fail She went straight for the one weak link in the chain of his argument.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: chain