Part of speech: noun
Origin: Narragansett, 17th century
(among some North American Indigenous peoples) a chief.
(North American informal) A boss or leader.
Examples of Sachem in a sentence
"John came from a prominent Narragansett family descended from a beloved sachem."
"The restaurant owner acted like the sachem of the dining room as she instructed staff and decided on seating arrangements."
Popularity Over Time
“Sachem” is drawn from the Narragansett language, an Algonquian tongue loosely connected to numerous other Indigenous languages in eastern-central North America. For Narragansett people, a sachem was a kind of political leader highly esteemed in a local region.
Did you Know?
Though “sachem” is an Indigenous term, it entered the American English vocabulary largely through New York City’s influential Tammany Society. That group, which operated from 1786 to 1967, was central to organizing the Democratic party in New York. It was overseen by a group of 12 upper leaders called “sachems.”