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

  • n. A cook, especially the chief cook of a large kitchen staff.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The head cook of an establishment such as a restaurant, club, or wealthy family.
  • n. Chief.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A chief or head person.
  • n. The head cook of large establishment, as a club, a family, etc.
  • n. Same as Chief.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An obsolete form of chief.
  • n. A head or chief; specifically, a head cook, etc.
  • n. A reliquary in the shape of a human head with or without the shoulders, either standing alone or placed upon a substructure or base, formerly made to receive the whole or a portion of the head of a Saint or martyr.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a professional cook


French, short for chef de cuisine, head of the kitchen; see chief.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French chef de cuisine ("head of kitchen, head of cooking"), Old French chief ("head, leader") (English chief), from Late Latin capum ("head") (from which also captain, chieftain), from Latin caput ("head") (English cap ("head covering")), from Proto-Indo-European *kauput- (English head). (Wiktionary)



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  • I love the implication, in the definition "someone who cooks food", that there are lots of other things to cook.

    the French literally means 'boss' (akin to 'chief'), which is how it's used in SBC (spelled šef).

    I believe there is a similar aesthetic sensibility (and conceptual system) to the French and Japanese. in Japanese, the chef in the kitchen is also 'boss': taisho.

    July 12, 2009