1a series of linked metal rings used for fastening or securing something, or for pulling loads:he slid the bolts on the front door and put the safety chain acrossthe drug dealer is being kept in chains
a decorative chain worn round the neck as jewellery or as a badge of office:a tall man with a heavy gold chain round his neck
a restrictive force or factor:workers secured by the chains of the labour market
2a sequence of items of the same type forming a line:he kept the chain of buckets supplied with water
a series of connected elements:the action would initiate a chain of events
a connected series of mountains:a mountain chain
a group of hotels, restaurants, or shops owned by the same company:the agency is part of a nationwide chain
British a situation in which the sale of a house or flat is dependent on the prospective buyer selling their own or the seller buying another first:our offer was accepted this morning and there’s no chain
a part of a molecule consisting of a number of atoms bonded together in a linear sequence.
a figure in a quadrille or similar dance, in which dancers meet and pass each other in a continuous sequence.
3a jointed measuring line consisting of linked metal rods.
a measure of length equivalent to a chain (66 ft).
4 (chains) a structure of planks projecting horizontally from a sailing ship’s sides abreast of the masts, used to widen the basis for the shrouds.
[formed earlier of iron plates]
fasten or secure with a chain:she chained her bicycle to the railings
confine with a chain:he had been chained up figurativeas an actuary you will not be chained to a desk
pull (or yank) someone's chain
informal tease someone by leading them to believe something untrue:he’s just pulling your chain