ADV: ADV with cl/group, ADV with v
You use chiefly to indicate that a particular reason, emotion, method, or feature is the main or most important one.

He joined the consular service in China, chiefly because this was one of the few job vacancies...

His response to attacks on his work was chiefly bewilderment.

mainly, primarily

English dictionary. 2008.

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  • Chiefly — Chief ly, adv. 1. In the first place; principally; pre[ e]minently; above; especially. [1913 Webster] Search through this garden; leave unsearched no nook; But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge. Milton. [1913 Webster] 2. For the most… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • chiefly — [chēf′lē] adv. 1. most of all; above all 2. mainly; mostly adj. of or like a chief [a chiefly rank] …   English World dictionary

  • chiefly — index a fortiori, ab initio, as a rule, generally, particularly Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • chiefly — pre eminently, mid 14c., from CHIEF (Cf. chief) + LY (Cf. ly) (2). Meaning pertaining to a chief is from 1870 …   Etymology dictionary

  • chiefly — *largely, greatly, mostly, mainly, principally, generally …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • chiefly — [adv] most importantly above all, especially, essentially, in general, in the first place, in the main, largely, mainly, mostly, on the whole, overall, predominantly, primarily, principally, usually; concepts 567,772 Ant. unimportantly …   New thesaurus

  • chiefly — ► ADVERB ▪ mainly; mostly …   English terms dictionary

  • chiefly — /cheef lee/, adv. 1. primarily; essentially: He phoned chiefly to let us know he was feeling better. 2. mainly; mostly: This dish consists chiefly of noodles. adj. 3. of, pertaining to, or like a chief: his chiefly responsibilities. [1300 50; ME; …   Universalium

  • chiefly — chief•ly [[t]ˈtʃif li[/t]] adv. 1) primarily; essentially: wanted chiefly for armed robbery[/ex] 2) mainly; mostly: The dish consisted chiefly of noodles[/ex] 3) cvb of, pertaining to, or like a chief: chiefly duty[/ex] • Etymology: 1300–50 …   From formal English to slang

  • chiefly — adv. Chiefly is used with these adjectives: ↑composed, ↑concerned, ↑interested, ↑responsible Chiefly is used with these verbs: ↑consist …   Collocations dictionary

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