THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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CHIEF (from Fr. chef, head, Lat. caput), the head or upper part of anything, and so, in heraldry, the upper part of the escutcheon, occupying one-third of the whole. When applied to a leading personage, a head man or one having the highest authority, the term chief or chieftain (Med. Lat. capitanus, O. Fr. chevetaine) is principally confined to the leader of a clan or tribe. The phrase “in chief” (Med. Lat. in capite) is used in feudal law of the tenant who holds his fief direct from the lord paramount (see Feudalism).
Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

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