from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Either of the two persons who hold a surveyor's measuring chain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who wields a chain or measuring tape.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. pl. chainmen (-men). A man who carries the chain used in surveying land; a chain-bearer.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • I had worked at various odd jobs in between— saw-mill hand, chainman on a surveying crow, and draftsman, for instance— and had travelled in North America, Europe and Asia.

    Antiquarian Weird Tales: L Sprague de Camp (1950)

  • The summer that I worked as a surveyor's chainman for my old high school math teacher, I discovered my disinterest in that sort of precision, and I rejoiced when the long, hot and sultry summer ended, allowing me to return to my college studies and more literary pursuits.

    Spiders and Wasps

  • As if provided specially to meet the situation along had come Rutland's urgent wire to headquarters for a new chainman, one of his men having taken sick suddenly.

    Every Man for Himself

  • It was too dark to see the birches clearly, but the ex-chainman for the Rutland survey party knew they were there and how they looked; he had seen hundreds of such growths.

    Every Man for Himself

  • Buck was readily located in the country north of Arcata, and one of the operatives actually procured a job as chainman with his surveying gang, while the other kept Ogilvy and his secretary under surveillance.

    The Valley of the Giants

  • "Great Scott! what is that?" cried a surveyor's chainman, shading his eyes and gazing at the fading line of agriculturist which bisected his visible horizon.

    INTERNET WIRETAP: The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce (1993 Edition)

  • He raised his compass and followed the chainman to the Doyles 'door.

    The Man in Gray

  • Glover chose for his companions two men: Dancing -- far and away the best climber in the telegraph corps, and Smith Young, roadmaster, a chainman of Glover's when he ran the Pilot line.

    The Daughter of a Magnate

  • Young Spencer began his surveying work by carrying a flag, and soon he was advanced to "chainman."

    Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great Philosophers, Volume 8

  • The other chainman gave Carleton the leading end, intending that the

    Charles Carleton Coffin War Correspondent, Traveller, Author, and Statesman

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