• WordNet 3.6
    • v chain fasten or secure with chains "Chain the chairs together"
    • v chain connect or arrange into a chain by linking
    • n chain a series of (usually metal) rings or links fitted into one another to make a flexible ligament
    • n chain a necklace made by a stringing objects together; "a string of beads","a strand of pearls"
    • n chain anything that acts as a restraint
    • n chain a linked or connected series of objects "a chain of daisies"
    • n chain (business) a number of similar establishments (stores or restaurants or banks or hotels or theaters) under one ownership
    • n chain a series of things depending on each other as if linked together "the chain of command","a complicated concatenation of circumstances"
    • n chain (chemistry) a series of linked atoms (generally in an organic molecule)
    • n chain a series of hills or mountains "the valley was between two ranges of hills","the plains lay just beyond the mountain range"
    • n Chain British biochemist (born in Germany) who isolated and purified penicillin, which had been discovered in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming (1906-1979)
    • n chain a unit of length
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Jack-Ladder, with Endless Chain. Mill in raised position for large log Jack-Ladder, with Endless Chain. Mill in raised position for large log
Daisy Chain Daisy Chain
Ivy Chain Ivy Chain
The Rose, chained, kneels on the floor before her captors The Rose, chained, kneels on the floor before her captors
The prince cuts through the chains holding the princess The prince cuts through the chains holding the princess
Chain Armour Chain Armour
Ian breaks the giant's chain Ian breaks the giant's chain

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: 7-Eleven is the largest retail chain in the world. Click Here For More Details
    • Chain A series of links or rings, usually of metal, connected, or fitted into one another, used for various purposes, as of support, of restraint, of ornament, of the exertion and transmission of mechanical power, etc. "They] put a chain of gold about his neck."
    • Chain A series of things linked together; or a series of things connected and following each other in succession; as, a chain of mountains; a chain of events or ideas.
    • Chain (Surv) An instrument which consists of links and is used in measuring land.
    • Chain (Naut) Iron links bolted to the side of a vessel to bold the dead-eyes connected with the shrouds; also, the channels.
    • Chain That which confines, fetters, or secures, as a chain; a bond; as, the chains of habit. "Driven down
      To chains of darkness and the undying worm."
    • Chain (Weaving) The warp threads of a web.
    • Chain To fasten, bind, or connect with a chain; to fasten or bind securely, as with a chain; as, to chain a bulldog. "Chained behind the hostile car."
    • Chain To keep in slavery; to enslave. "And which more blest? who chained his country, say
      Or he whose virtue sighed to lose a day?"
    • Chain (Surveying) To measure with the chain.
    • Chain To protect by drawing a chain across, as a harbor.
    • Chain To unite closely and strongly. "And in this vow do chain my soul to thine."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Kodak is the first chain store to open in Antarctica.
    • n chain A connected series of links of metal or other material, serving the purposes of a band, cord, rope, or cable in connecting, confining, restraining, supporting, drawing, transmitting mechanical power, etc., or for ornamental purposes. In heraldry the chain, as a bearing, may be borne in a single piece bend-wise, fesse-wise, or the like, or in a cross or saltier, or in a more elaborate arrangement. It is sometimes represented flat, like a bar or ribbon invected or indented on the edge, and pierced with holes.
    • n chain Figuratively, that which binds, confines, restrains, fetters, or draws; specifically, in the plural, fetters; bonds; bondage; slavery: as, bound by the chains of evil habit.
    • n chain In surveying, a measuring instrument, generally consisting of 100 links, each 7.92 inches (see Gunter's chain, below), or, as commonly in the United States, one foot, in length.
    • n chain In weaving, the warp-threads of a web: so called because they form a long series of links or loops.
    • n chain A series of things, material or immaterial, linked together; a series, line, or range of things connected or following in succession; a concatenation or coördinate sequence: as, a chain of causes, events, or arguments; a chain of evidence; a chain of mountains or of fortifications.
    • n chain In chem., a group of atoms of the same kind assumed to be joined to one another by chemical force without the intervention of atoms of a different kind.
    • n chain pl. Naut., strong bars or plates of iron bolted at the lower end to the ship's side, and at the upper end secured to the iron straps of the wooden blocks called deadeyes, by which the shrouds supporting the masts are extended. Formerly, instead of bars, chains were used; hence the name. Same as chain-plates.
    • n chain Synonyms See shackle.
    • chain To fasten, bind, restrain, or fetter with a chain or chains: as, to chain floating logs together; to chain a dog; to chain prisoners.
    • chain Figuratively.
    • chain To unite firmly; link.
    • chain To hold by superior force, moral or physical; keep in bondage or slavery; enthrall; enslave.
    • chain To restrain; hold in check; control.
    • chain To block up or obstruct with a chain, as a passage or the entrance to a harbor.
    • n chain A ruff of recurved feathers adorning the neck of some breeds of pigeons, such as the jacobin.
    • n chain An abbreviation of mountain-chain and volcanic chain.
    • n chain A collection or continuum which has reference to a certain mode of correspondence such that no one individual or point corresponds to more than one individual or point, this mode of correspondence being thought of as a sort of mapping such that one part of the map may coincide with another, but no part of the collection or continuum mapped is represented twice over on the map. If the map is a part or the whole of what is mapped, that which is mapped is called a chain. Moreover, if P is any part of what is mapped, there may he many parts of the whole collection or continuum mapped, each of which contains P and is a chain. Now that chain which forms a part (or the whole) of every possible chain that contains P is called the chain of P. The term (German kette) was introduced by R. Dedekind, who restricted it to collections; but the idea had long before been derived by Gauss by generalizing the ordinary concept of a map. See mapping. It is evident that if to P be joined the representation of P on the map, and also the representation of that on the map and so on endlessly, the sum of all these will be the chain of P.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The famous Pizza chain store Sabarro originated in a small corner store in my hometown of Brooklyn, NY, which actually sold fresh cut meat.
    • n Chain chān a series of links or rings passing through one another: a number of things coming after each other: anything that binds: a connected course or train of events: in surveying, often called Gunter's chain, a measure of 100 links, 66 feet long (10 sq. chains make an acre):
    • v.t Chain to fasten: to fetter: to restrain:
    • n Chain chān (pl.) fetters, bonds, confinement generally
    • v.t Chain (Shak.) to embrace
    • ***


  • Mahatma Gandhi
    “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.”
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    “Curses always recoil on the head of him who imprecates them. If you put a chain around the neck of a slave, the other end fastens itself around your own.”
  • William James
    “A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain.”
  • Wernher Von Braun
    Wernher Von Braun
    “It will free man from his remaining chains, the chains of gravity which still tie him to this planet. It will open to him the gates of heaven.”
  • Charles Caleb Colton
    “Tyrants have not yet discovered any chains that can fetter the mind.”
  • Voltaire
    “It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.”


A chain is no stronger than its weakest link - This means that processes, organisations, etc, are vulnerable because the weakest person or part can always damage or break them.
Move the chains - (USA) Derived from the act of moving the chains in an American football game when a team gets a first down, this expression describes taking a project to the next step, especially one that has lost its momentum for one reason or another. Example: Frustrated with our lack of progress, our boss finally shouted, "Make a decision today about which one to use, and let's move the chains on this."
Pull your chain - (USA) If someone pulls your chain, they take advantage of you in an unfair way or do something to annoy you.
Yank my chain - If some one says this to another person (i.e. stop yanking my chain) it means for the other person to leave the person who said it alone and to stop bothering them.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. chaîne, fr. L. catena,. Cf. Catenate


In literature:

The human mind was in chains.
"The Ghosts" by Robert G. Ingersoll
Remember, Paul thanked God for freedom even while he sat in chains.
"Carmen Ariza" by Charles Francis Stocking
Your man persuaded me to come out at last by saying the dog was chained up in his kennel.
"Shirley" by Charlotte Brontë
Chain them up, Migul; use a longer chain.
"Astounding Stories, May, 1931" by Various
Sometimes they put chains on runaway slaves and chained 'em to the house.
"Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves" by Work Projects Administration
You'll have to dig them out for me since I can't reach the pocket while I'm chained to this chair.
"The Ethical Engineer" by Henry Maxwell Dempsey
I's nev'r, nev'r seen any slaves in chains but I's hear talk of dem chains.
"Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves." by Work Projects Administration
Very few wus put in chains, most of 'em wus put in a kivered wagon wid a guard an' wus chained at night.
"Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves, North Carolina Narratives, Part 2" by Work Projects Administration
Society is enchained, and the hand holding the chain is the hand of Plutus.
"The Forerunners" by Romain Rolland
You know he controls the railroad to Upper Chain.
"The Boy Scouts in A Trapper's Camp" by Thornton W. Burgess
Double endless chains run in the corners of the trough, the two chains being connected together by round cross bars set 30 in.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 7, Slice 3" by Various
These long lines of broken cliffs in the sea, with their frequent gaps and crevices, are like miniature chains of mountains.
"Toilers of the Sea" by Victor Hugo
While I am not able to break this metal chain, yet God has made it possible for every person to break the chain of the moral law.
"With the Children on Sunday" by Sylvanus Stall
Releasing the prisoner from his chains, he commanded him, 'follow me to the count!
"Tales from the German. Volume II." by Carl Franz van der Velde
And to each pillar was bound a man, by chains.
"Tiger Cat" by David H. Keller
The bucket chain was driven by two horses working a horse-gear on the deck of the vessel.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 8, Slice 7" by Various
On our arrival at Abdullah's hut, we found ourselves in company with twenty robbers who were chained hand and foot.
"Ten Years' Captivity in the Mahdi's Camp 1882-1892" by F. R. Wingate
And Jenkins seemed chained to the earth by a power greater than his will.
"Castle of Terror" by E.J. Liston
Now set your trap, turn the spring to one side, fasten the chain the handiest way you can so it is secure.
"Mink Trapping" by A. R. (Arthur Robert) Harding
A stone may be used in the same manner by securing with wire to the end of the chain.
"Science of Trapping" by Elmer Harry Kreps

In poetry:

"Rather than sparkle
In diamond chain,
I'd dwell with the humblest
Flower again;
"The Dew-Drop: A Metrical Fantasy" by Samuel Lover
From the graves of Poland,
From Germania's plains,
From the death-pollution
Of imperial chains.
"Invocation" by Mathilde Blind
Or men whom we see
That have got their death-omen,—
Such wretches are we
In the chains of our foemen!
"The Downfall Of The Gael" by Samuel Ferguson
This night,
Long like the drooping feathers
Of the pheasant,
The chain of mountains,
Shall I sleep alone?
"Alone One Night" by Edward Powys Mathers
"This is the law of being
That links the threefold chain:
The life we give to beauty
Returns to us again."
"Earth Voices" by Bliss William Carman
And should God's eare
To such indifferents chained be,
Who do not their own motions heare?
Is God lesse free?
"The Method" by George Herbert

In news:

Restaurant chain Steak 'n Shake targets Mideast.
It's no secret that fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A donates to anti-gay Christian charities — the chain has been getting flak from gay-rights groups for a while now on that.
This past weekend we were shopping at a major chain store.
Chains have bad effects on business district .
I am one of the those residents of Jamaica Plain who prefers that chains not make a home on Centre Street.
One of the five-unit chain's locations is across from the Walnut Creek, CA, traffic court, so during the month of May the restaurant has been offering an Innocent Until Proven Hungry deal.
5 Hot Little Restaurant Chains You Can Buy Into Now.
In a Feb 21, 1984, photograph, bankrupt financier Jake Butcher talks to the press outside the federal courthouse after turning over business records connected to the collapse of the United American Bank chain to a federal grand jury.
Taco Cabana execs discuss chain's renovation program.
Pesce doesn't get the respect it deserves among foodies because it's part of the Landry's chain, and though it is a bit pricey, it does fish right.
The Burlington-based chain, which operates more than 250 stores nationwide, said it was duped by an Asian vendor who told the company the fur was coyote fur.
Oct 25-26, 2010: FinListics: The Financial Supply Chain Management Connection Workshop, Atlanta.
Georgia Technology Supply Chain & Logistics Institute.
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The Colombian government on Friday seized the nation's largest pharmacy chain, saying its creation and expansion were funded by cocaine trafficking.
The retail chain is in an expansion phase, and the Carroll community appears to be next.

In science:

The nonuniform version of the transverse spin- 1 2 X Y chain also can be mapped onto a chain of free spinless fermions, however, with an on-site energy and hopping integrals that vary from site to site.
Thermodynamic properties of the periodic nonuniform spin-1/2 isotropic XY chains in a transverse field
One of our motivations for seeking a Markov chain description of MGL,u,q is work of Fristedt [Fris], who had a Markov chain approach for the measure Pq on the set of all partitions of all natural numbers defined by Pq (λ) = Q∞ i=1 (1 − q i )q |λ| where q < 1.
Random matrix theory over finite fields: a survey
Note, for a set like δi which is closed and disjoint from D , our chains coincide with the usual topological chains with values in the local system E .
Homology for irregular connections
Let C∗ (ℓ) be the complex of chains calculating this homology, and let C∗ (ℓ \ {0}) ⊂ C∗(ℓ) be the subcomplex of chains not meeting 0.
Homology for irregular connections
Let C∗(W ) be the complex of chains calculating the desired homology, and let C∗ (W \ {0}) ⊂ C∗ (W ) be the chains not meeting 0.
Homology for irregular connections
For a numerical demonstration of the validity of the above statement we considered two random quantum spin chains, the dimerized Heisenberg (XXX) chain and the q-state RQPM, both having a set of RG equations very similar to that of the RTIM in Eq.(3).
Griffiths-McCoy singularities in random quantum spin chains: Exact results through renormalization
Section VI is devoted to a qualitative analysis of the dynamical and transport properties of the XXZ spin1/2 chains at non-zero temperatures in the regime ω < T , along with some quantitative calculations in the XX spin1/2 chain that are possible in this case because of the mapping to free fermions.
Dynamics and transport in random quantum systems governed by strong-randomness fixed points
While the effects of dimerization are not understood in detail in all regimes, it is possible9 to use the singlet RG and follow the flows for a chain with full Heisenberg symmetry and for a chain in the vicinity of the XX-RS point.
Dynamics and transport in random quantum systems governed by strong-randomness fixed points
When a module moves next to the seed module and is connected to it in the chosen direction, the chain grows by one module and that new module then becomes the new seed that will further grow the chain.
Multiagent Control of Self-reconfigurable Robots
The stationary distribution π of this chain is a probability measure on the set of maximal chains.
Semigroups, rings, and Markov chains
Chain rules differ from non-chain rules in that their left-hand side essential feature is identical to the essential feature of one of their right-hand side elements.
Interfacing Constraint-Based Grammars and Generation Algorithms
However, the property of being a chain rule (or non-chain rule) is often assigned by the grammar writer on purely linguistic grounds although it determines the processing strategy: If the set of chain rules happens to be empty, shdg operates strictly top-down.
Interfacing Constraint-Based Grammars and Generation Algorithms
In the step (1) of the algorithm, we construct a chain with cylindrical segments randomly, and then we check whether there is an overlap or not for all unadjacent pairs of cylinders of the chain.
Characteristic length of random knotting for cylindrical self-avoiding polygons
If there is an overlap, then we give up the chain and construct a new chain from the beginning.
Characteristic length of random knotting for cylindrical self-avoiding polygons
Then D∗ is simple chain equivalent to the cel lular chains of one side of a Heegard decomposition of N if and only if it is homological ly 2-dimensional and H0D → H0C c ∗N (= Z ) is an isomorphism.
Dual 2-complexes in 4-manifolds