Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


We are like men in a subterranean cave, so chained that they can look only forward to the entrance.

They have the ferocity of a chained dog, and are proud of it.

Mr Flintwinch shut him out, and chained him out, without a moment's loss of time.

The dog-musher secured a club and went over to the chained animal.

If you had chained me up when the fit was on me, I should have broken away, and gone there.

Once his opponents had him carried to Spain chained like a common prisoner.

Indian men were chained together and forced to carry the baggage.

Their attention was chained by what now happened before their eyes.

The captured eagle with the broken wing was now chained to the wall as well.

He had not chained the young horse, but that could be done at this point.


c.1300, from Old French chaeine "chain" (12c., Modern French chaîne), from Latin catena "chain" (source also of Spanish cadena, Italian catena), of unknown origin, perhaps from PIE root *kat- "to twist, twine" (cf. Latin cassis "hunting net, snare").

Figurative use from c.1600. As a type of ornament worn about the neck, from late 14c. Chain of stores is American English, 1846. Chain gang is from 1834; chain reaction is from 1916 in physics, specific nuclear physics sense is from 1938; chain mail first recorded 1822, in Scott, from mail (n.2). Before that, mail alone sufficed. Chain letter recorded from 1892; usually to raise money at first; decried from the start as a nuisance.

Chain smoker is attested from 1886, originally of Bismarck (who smoked cigars), thus probably a loan-translation of German Kettenraucher. Chain-smoking is from 1930.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.