1 line of rings joined together
ADJ. long She wore a long gold chain round her neck. | rusty | bicycle | daisy, paper
CHAIN + VERB clank
CHAIN + NOUN mail (= armour made of chains)
PREP. in ~s The prisoner was led away in chains. | off sb's/the ~ Let the dog off its chain. | on a/the ~ They kept the dog on a chain all day long.
PHRASES a chain of office The mayor was wearing his chain of office. | a chain on the door Put the chain on the door before you go to bed. | a link in the chain
2 number of things in a line
ADJ. island, mountain | human
VERB + CHAIN form The people formed a human chain to pass the supplies up the beach.
PREP. ~ of a chain of volcanic islands
PHRASES a chain of command (= a system by which instructions are passed from one person to another)
3 group of shops, etc. owned by the same company
ADJ. big, large | small | hotel, supermarket, etc.
CHAIN + NOUN store
PREP. ~ of a chain of clothes shops
PHRASES part of a chain This hotel is part of a large chain.
4 number of connected events/situations
ADJ. complex the complex chain of events that led to the war | unbroken There has been an unbroken chain of great violinists in the family. | causal | food efforts to ensure that dioxins do not enter the food chain
CHAIN + NOUN reaction
PHRASES a chain of events