1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Chief
CHIEF (from Fr. chef, head, Lat. caput), the head or upper part of anything, and so, in heraldry, the upper part of the escutcheon, occupying one-third of the whole. When applied to a leading personage, a head man or one having the highest authority, the term chief or chieftain (Med. Lat. capitanus, O. Fr. chevetaine) is principally confined to the leader of a clan or tribe. The phrase “in chief” (Med. Lat. in capite) is used in feudal law of the tenant who holds his fief direct from the lord paramount (see Feudalism).