First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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How to Pronounce Chief

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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Chief mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Chief

User Submitted Origins

     Native American

User Submitted Meanings

  • A user from Texas, United States says the name Chief is of Native American origin and means "Spiritual Leader".
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International Interest
Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun Chief
  1. The head or leader of any body of men; a commander, as of an army; a head man, as of a tribe, clan, or family; a person in authority who directs the work of others; the principal actor or agent.
  2. The principal part; the most valuable portion."The chief of the things which should be utterly destroyed." [1 Sam. xv. 21]
  3. [Her] The upper third part of the field. It is supposed to be composed of the dexter, sinister, and middle chiefs.
    synonyms: Chieftain; captain; general; commander; leader; head; principal; sachem; sagamore; sheik.

Usage: Chief chieftain Commander Leader. These words fluctuate somewhat in their meaning according to circumstances, but agree in the general idea of rule and authority. The term chief is now more usually applied to one who is a head man, leader, or commander in civil or military affairs, or holds a hereditary or acquired rank in a tribe or clan; as, the chief of police; the chief of an Indian tribe. A chieftain is the chief of a clan or tribe , or a military leader. A commander directs the movements of or has control over a body of men, as a military or naval force. A leader is one whom men follow, as in a political party, a legislative body, a military or scientific expedition, etc., one who takes the command and gives direction in particular enterprises.

Etymology: OE. chief chef, OF. chief, F. chef, fr. L. caput head, possibly akin to E. head. Cf. Captain Chapter

adjective Chief
  1. Highest in office or rank; principal; head." Chiefrulers." [John. xii. 42.]
  2. Principal or most eminent in any quality or action; most distinguished; having most influence; taking the lead; most important; as, the chief topic of conversation; the chief interest of man.
  3. Very intimate, near, or close.(Obs)"A whisperer separateth chief friends." [Prov. xvi. 28.]
    synonyms: Principal; head; leading; main; paramount; supreme; prime; vital; especial; great; grand; eminent; master.
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. A person who exercises control over workers
  2. A person who is in charge
  3. The head of a tribe or clan
  4. Most important element ("the chief aim of living")

From Middle English, a borrowing from Old French chief (“leader”), from Vulgar Latin *capum (from which also captain, chieftain), from Latin caput (“head”) (English cap (“head covering”)), from Proto-Indo-European *kauput- (English head).

  1. A leader or head of a group of people, organisation, etc. [from 13th c.]
    All firefighters report to the fire .
  2. (heraldry) The top part of a shield or escutcheon. [from 15th c.]
  3. An informal address to an equal.
    Hey, chief.

chief was also found in the following language(s): Middle French and Old French

Notable Persons Named Chief

Chief Keef is a hip hop music, midwest hip hop, and drill (music genre) record producer, rapping, and rapper. He holds the title Love Sosa – Chief Keef. He was most active from 2011 to 2011. Chief was given the name Keith Cozart on August 15th, 1995 in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.


He was most prominent from 1960 to present. Chief was born on July 24th, 1899 in Tsleil-Waututh, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He passed away on September 23rd, 1981.


Chief Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was a president. He was most prominent from 1963 to 1966. Chief was born on November 16th, 1904 in Zungeru. He passed away on May 11th, 1996.


Chief Jay Strongbow was a wrestler. Chief was born on October 4th, 1928 in Philadelphia. He left this life on April 3rd, 2012.


Chief is a comics character.



Notable Persons With the Last Name Chief

Apache Chief is a comics character.


Chief is a comics character.


Woman Chief is a Crow chief, warrior, and Crowchief.



Kevin Chief is a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, Manitoba Minister of Children, Youth Opportunities, and Member of theLegislative Assembly of Manitoba. Kevin was born in 1974 in Winnipeg.


Generale was born in 24. Generale is also known as The Commander (D.S.S.A.)or The (Generale Corpo D'Armata incarichi speciali)Bulldozer name of the war.


Where is the name Chief popular?

International Interest for Chief

Interest is based how many people viewed this name from each country and is scaled based on the total views by each country so that large countries do not always show the most interest. Darker blue on the map indicates that people in the country are more likely to search for this name.

Longer bars in the bar graph indicate that people in the country are more interested in the name. Not all countries that have shown an interest in the name are listed in the bar graph.

United States
United Kingdom
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Popularity in the US

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Popularity of Chief as a last name

The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Chief as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Arizona, South Dakota, or California.

Ethnicity Distribution

Ethnicity Chief U.S.
  White 4.76% 64.26%
  African American 1.98% 11.96%
  Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 0.00% 4.85%
  American Indian and Alaska Native 88.89% 0.69%
  Two or More Ethnicities 2.78% 1.76%
  Hispanic or Latino 0.00% 16.26%

Of Last Name Chief

People with the last name Chief are most frequently American Indian and Alaska Native

Entire United States

Fun Facts about the name Chief

  • How Popular is the name Chief? Chief is the 32,161st most popular name of all time. As a last name Chief was the 76,275th most popular name in 2010.
  • How many people with the first name Chief have been born in the United States? From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 136 babies born with the first name Chief in the United States. That's more than enough people named Chief to occupy the territory of Pitcairn Islands (United Kingdom) with an estimated population of 66 (as of July 1, 2008).
  • What year were 5 or more babies first named Chief? The name was first given to 5 or more babies in the year 1919 when it was given as a first name to 5 new born babies.
  • When was Chief first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the first name Chief is Monday, June 5th, 1871.
  • What year had the most people named Chief born? The highest recorded use of the first name Chief was in 2017 with a total of 20 babies.
  • Weird things about the name Chief: Your name in reverse order is Feihc. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Iefhc. How do you pronounce that?
  • How many people have the last name Chief? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 252 people with the last name Chief.
  • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Chief? Chances are, most people haven't met someone with Chief as their last name since less than 1 person in 1.1m people have that last name. If you know one, consider yourself lucky!

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • U.S. Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names, Death Master File (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
  • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.