Etymology
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chieftain (n.)

early 14c., cheftayne "ruler, chief, head" of something, from Anglo-French chiefteyn, Old French chevetain "captain, chief, leader," from Late Latin capitaneus "commander," from Latin capitis, genitive of caput "head" (from PIE root *kaput- "head"). Now mostly poetic or archaic; in "Rob Roy" (1818) a Highland chieftain was the head of a branch of a clan, a chief was the head of the whole name. Related: Chieftainship; chieftaincy.

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Definitions of chieftain

chieftain (n.)
the leader of a group of people;
Synonyms: captain
chieftain (n.)
the head of a tribe or clan;
Synonyms: headman / tribal chief / chief
From wordnet.princeton.edu