chain

A chain is a long series of connected metal links. Chains are strong and flexible, so they're useful for pulling a heavy load or securing a dangerous animal.

The chain that anchors a ship to a dock or secures a warehouse door is just a larger version of the gold chain you wear around your neck — both are made of loops of metal. More figurative types of chains include things that hold you back, like the chains of your responsibility to your family, or connected occurrences — like a chain of events that leads to you meeting your best friend.

Definitions of chain
  1. noun
    a series of (usually metal) rings or links fitted into one another to make a flexible ligament
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 7 types...
    hide 7 types...
    anchor chain, anchor rope
    the chain or rope that attaches an anchor to a vessel
    bicycle chain
    a chain that transmits the power from the pedals to the rear wheel of a bicycle
    chatelaine
    a chain formerly worn at the waist by women; for carrying a purse or bunch of keys etc.
    fob, watch chain, watch guard
    short chain or ribbon attaching a pocket watch to a man's vest
    paper chain
    a chain made of loops of colored paper; used to decorate a room
    pull chain
    a chain (usually with a handle at the end) that is pulled in order to operate some mechanism (e.g. to flush a toilet)
    snow chain, tire chain
    chain attached to wheels to increase traction on ice or snow
    type of:
    ligament
    any connection or unifying bond
  2. noun
    (chemistry) a series of linked atoms (generally in an organic molecule)
    synonyms: chemical chain
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 6 types...
    hide 6 types...
    closed chain, ring
    (chemistry) a chain of atoms in a molecule that forms a closed loop
    long chain, long-chain molecule
    (chemistry) a relatively long chain of atoms in a molecule
    open chain
    a chain of atoms in a molecule whose ends are not joined to form a ring
    branched chain
    an open chain of atoms with one or more side chains attached to it
    heterocycle, heterocyclic ring
    a ring of atoms of more than one kind; especially a ring of carbon atoms containing at least one atom that is not carbon
    straight chain
    an open chain of atoms with no side chains
    type of:
    building block, unit
    a single undivided natural thing occurring in the composition of something else
  3. noun
    a necklace made by a stringing objects together
    synonyms: strand, string
    see moresee less
    type of:
    necklace
    jewelry consisting of a cord or chain (often bearing gems) worn about the neck as an ornament (especially by women)
  4. verb
    connect or arrange into a chain by linking
    see moresee less
    types:
    concatenate
    combine two strings to form a single one
    type of:
    arrange, set up
    put into a proper or systematic order
  5. verb
    fasten or secure with chains
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    unchain
    remove the chains from
    type of:
    fasten, fix, secure
    cause to be firmly attached
  6. noun
    a series of things depending on each other as if linked together
    “the chain of command”
    synonyms: concatenation
    see moresee less
    types:
    catena
    a chain of connected ideas or passages or objects so arranged that each member is closely related to the preceding and following members (especially a series of patristic comments elucidating Christian dogma)
    daisy chain
    (figurative) a series of associated things or people or experiences
    type of:
    series
    similar things placed in order or happening one after another
  7. noun
    a linked or connected series of objects
    “a chain of daisies”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    necklace
    jewelry consisting of a cord or chain (often bearing gems) worn about the neck as an ornament (especially by women)
  8. noun
    a series of hills or mountains
    synonyms: chain of mountains, mountain chain, mountain range, range, range of mountains
    see moresee less
    examples:
    show 55 examples...
    hide 55 examples...
    Adirondack Mountains
    a mountain range in northeastern New York State; a popular resort area
    Admiralty Range
    mountains in Antarctica to the north of Victoria Land
    Alaska Range
    a mountain range in south central Alaska; contains Mount McKinley
    Allegheny Mountains
    the western part of the Appalachian Mountains; extending from northern Pennsylvania to southwestern Virginia
    the Alps
    a large mountain system in south-central Europe; scenic beauty and winter sports make them a popular tourist attraction
    Altai Mountains
    a mountain range in central Asia that extends a thousand miles from Kazakhstan eastward into western Mongolia and northern China
    Andes
    a mountain range in South America running 5000 miles along the Pacific coast
    Apennines
    a mountain range extending the length of the Italian peninsula
    Appalachian Mountains
    a mountain range in the eastern United States extending from Quebec to the Gulf of Mexico; a historic barrier to early westward expansion of the United States
    Atlas Mountains
    a mountain range in northern Africa between the Mediterranean and the Sahara Desert; extends from southwestern Morocco to northern Tunisia
    Australian Alps
    a range of mountains in Australia that forms the southern end of the Great Dividing Range
    Balkan Mountain Range
    the major mountain range of Bulgaria and the Balkan Peninsula
    Berkshire Hills
    a low mountain range in western Massachusetts; a resort area
    Black Hills
    mountains in southwestern South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming; sacred to the Sioux (whites settling in the Black Hills led to the Battle of Little Bighorn); site of Mount Rushmore
    Blue Ridge Mountains
    a range of the Appalachians extending from southern Pennsylvania to northern Georgia
    Cantabrian Mountains
    a range of mountains in northern Spain along the coast of the Bay of Biscay
    Carpathian Mountains
    a mountain range in central Europe that extends from Slovakia and southern Poland southeastward through western Ukraine to northeastern Romania; a popular resort area
    Cascade Mountains
    a mountain range in the northwestern United States extending through Washington and Oregon and northern California; a part of the Coast Range
    Catskill Mountains
    a range of the Appalachians to the west of the Hudson in southeastern New York; includes many popular resort areas
    Caucasus Mountains
    the mountain range in Caucasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea that forms part of the traditional border between Europe and Asia
    Coast Mountains
    a string of mountain ranges along the Pacific coast of North America from southeastern Alaska to Lower California
    Cumberland Mountains
    the southwestern part of the Appalachians
    Dolomite Alps
    an eastern range of the Alps in northeastern Italy famous for their dolomitic limestone
    Great Dividing Range
    a mountain range running along the eastern coast of Australia
    Great Smoky Mountains
    part of the Appalachians between North Carolina and Tennessee
    Green Mountains
    a range of the Appalachian Mountains that extends from south to north through Vermont
    Guadalupe Mountains
    a mountain range in southern New Mexico and western Texas; the southern extension of the Sacramento Mountains
    Himalaya Mountains
    a mountain range extending 1500 miles on the border between India and Tibet; this range contains the world's highest mountain
    Hindu Kush Mountains
    a mountain range extending to the west of the Himalayas
    Karakoram Range
    a mountain range in northern Kashmir; an extension of the Hindu Kush; contains the 2nd highest peak
    Kuenlun Mountains
    a mountain range in western China that extends eastward from the Indian border for 1000 miles
    Mesabi Range
    a range of hills in northeastern Minnesota where rich iron ore deposits were discovered in 1887
    Mount Carmel
    a mountain range in northwestern Israel near the Mediterranean coast
    Nan Ling
    a mountain range in southeastern China running generally east to west
    Ozark Mountains
    an area of low mountains in northwestern Arkansas and southeastern Missouri and northeastern Oklahoma
    Pamir Mountains
    a mountain range in central Asia that is centered in Tajikistan but extends into Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan and Pakistan and western China
    Pyrenees
    a chain of mountains between France and Spain
    Rhodope Mountains
    a mountain range in the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe; extends along the border between Greece and Bulgaria
    Rocky Mountains
    the chief mountain range of western North America; extends from British Columbia to northern New Mexico; forms the continental divide
    Sacramento Mountains
    mountain range in New Mexico to the east of the Rio Grande
    San Juan Mountains
    a mountain range in southwestern Colorado that is part of the Rocky Mountains
    Sayan Mountains
    a range of mountains in southern Siberia to the west of Lake Baikal; contain important mineral deposits
    Selkirk Mountains
    a range of the Rocky Mountains in southeastern British Columbia
    sierra
    a range of mountains (usually with jagged peaks and irregular outline)
    Sierra Madre Occidental
    a mountain range in northwestern Mexico that runs south from Arizona parallel to the Pacific coastline
    Sierra Madre Oriental
    a mountain range in northeastern Mexico the runs parallel to the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico
    Sierra Nevada Mountains
    a mountain range in eastern California; contains Mount Whitney
    Sierra Nevada
    a mountain range in southern Spain along the Mediterranean coast to the east of Granada
    St. Elias Mountains
    a range of mountains between Alaska and the Yukon territory
    Taconic Mountains
    a range of the Appalachian Mountains along the eastern border of New York with Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont
    Teton Range
    a mountain range in northwest Wyoming; contains the Grand Teton
    Tien Shan
    a major mountain range of central Asia; extends 1,500 miles
    Transylvanian Alps
    a range of the southern Carpathian Mountains extending across central Romania
    Tyrolean Alps
    a popular tourist area in the Tyrol
    Ural Mountains
    a mountain range in western Russia extending from the Arctic to the Caspian Sea; forms part of the traditional boundary between Europe and Asia
    type of:
    formation, geological formation
    (geology) the geological features of the earth
  9. noun
    (business) a number of similar establishments (stores or restaurants or banks or hotels or theaters) under one ownership
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 4 types...
    hide 4 types...
    apparel chain
    a chain of clothing stores
    discount chain
    a chain of discount stores
    restaurant chain
    a chain of restaurants
    retail chain
    a chain of retail stores
    type of:
    business, business concern, business organisation, business organization, concern
    a commercial or industrial enterprise and the people who constitute it
  10. noun
    anything that acts as a restraint
    see moresee less
    type of:
    constraint, restraint
    a device that retards something's motion
  11. noun
    a unit of length
    see moresee less
    types:
    Gunter's chain
    a unit of length (22 yards)
    engineer's chain
    a unit of length (100 ft)
    nautical chain
    a nautical unit of length (15 ft)
    type of:
    linear measure, linear unit
    a unit of measurement of length
Word Family