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Definitions by Wordnik

  1. (noun) A connected, flexible series of links, typically of metal, used especially for holding objects together or restraining or for transmitting mechanical power.
  2. (noun) Such a set of links, often of precious metal and with pendants attached, worn as an ornament or symbol of office.
  3. (noun) A restraining or confining agent or force.
  4. (noun) Bonds, fetters, or shackles.
  5. (noun) Captivity or oppression; bondage: threw off the chains of slavery.
  6. (noun) A series of closely linked or connected things: a chain of coincidences. See Synonyms at series.
  7. (noun) A number of establishments, such as stores, theaters, or hotels, under common ownership or management.
  8. (noun) A range of mountains.
  9. (noun) Chemistry A group of atoms bonded in a spatial configuration like links in a chain.
  10. (noun) An instrument used in surveying, consisting of 100 linked pieces of iron or steel and measuring 66 feet (20.1 meters). Also called Gunter's chain.
  11. (noun) A similar instrument used in engineering, measuring 100 feet (30.5 meters).
  12. (noun) A unit of measurement equal to the length of either of these instruments.
  13. (verb-transitive) To bind or make fast with a chain or chains: chained the dog to a tree.
  14. (verb-transitive) To restrain or confine as if with chains: workers who were chained to a life of dull routine.
  15. (idiom) pull To take unfair advantage of someone; deceive or manipulate someone.

Examples by Wordnik

  1. These causes of war do not appear, however, to be of the nature of a chain, giving us the impression that in order to break the habit of war, all we need do is to discover the weakest link in the chain of causes, break the chain there, and so interrupt the whole mechanism of war-making in the world. - The Psychology of Nations A Contribution to the Philosophy of History
  2. The gneiss of the littoral chain* contains traces of the precious metals (* In the southern branch of this chain which passes by Yusma, Villa de Cura and Ocumare, particularly near Buria, Los Teques and Los Marietas.); and some grains of gold have been found in the mountains of Parima, near the mission of Encaramada. - Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America, During the Year 1799-1804 — Volume 3
  3. II. i.195 (251,4) [usurer's chain] I know not whether the chain was, in our authour's time, the common ornament of wealthy citizens, or whether he satirically uses usurer and alderman as synonymous terms. - Notes to Shakespeare — Volume 01: Comedies
  4. The gangs belt the city like a huge chain from the Battery to Harlem—the collective name of the “chain gang” has been given to their scattered groups in the belief that a much closer connection exists between them than commonly supposed—and the ruffian for whom the East Side has became too hot, has only to step across town and change his name, a matter usually much easier for him than to change his shirt, to find a sanctuary in which to plot fresh outrages. - XIX. The Harvest of Tares
  5. This ubiquitin chain is recognised in the opening of the proteasome. - The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2004 - Information for the Public


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