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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Sachem \Sa"chem\ (s[a^]"chem), n. A chief of a tribe of the American Indians; a sagamore. See Sagamore.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

chief of an American Indian tribe, 1620s, from Narragansett (Algonquian) sachim "chief, ruler," cognate with Abenaki sangman, Delaware sakima, Micmac sakumow, Penobscot sagumo. Applied jocularly to a prominent member of any society from 1680s; specific political use in U.S. is from 1890, from its use as the title of the 12 high officials of the Tammany Society of New York.


n. A chief of a tribe of the American Natives; a sagamore.

  1. n. a political leader (especially of Tammany Hall)

  2. a chief of a North American tribe or confederation (especially an Algonquian chief) [syn: sagamore]

Sachem (disambiguation)

Sachem may refer to:

  • Sachem, a Native American paramount chief
  • A leader of Tammany Hall
  • The Sachem award, which replaced the Sagamore of the Wabash as Indiana's highest civilian honor
  • Sachem School District in Long Island
  • Atalopedes campestris, a skipper (butterfly)
  • Theodore "Sachem" Wilson III, professional soccer player

Three US Navy vessels have also borne this name:

  • USS Sachem (1776)
  • USS Sachem (1861)
  • USS Sachem (SP-192)

A sachem or sagamore is a paramount chief among the Algonquians or other northeast American First Nation tribes. The two words are anglicizations of cognate terms (c.1622) from different Eastern Algonquian languages. Some sources contend the sagamore was a lesser chief than the sachem.

Usage examples of "sachem".

The discourse and the conversation that followed again melted the Sachem, and he repented and retracted, although he continued an unsafe and unstable man.

The four strangers were seated together in positions of honor in the circle of the eight sachems of the Aberdeen Phylum.

There was no one else here, either, and he realized that all must be in the town square for the unusual muster of the sachems, caciques and sagamores.

With the papers signed by one or two sachems, we can go to one of the less punctilious planets and get some military beef to back up our legal rights.

At the first meeting of the Dail, the sachems of the respective clanns involved meet honorably and arrange for there to be made payment of the bloodright to the kyn of the slain.

The sachems and caciques wish to speak to a man from Beyond, to send a message to the Dail of the city of New Sidon.

First from the ranks of the sachems and caciques, then, in their turn, the clannsmen, but the final say was from Mildred, a Keeper of the Faith, as respected as any.

Your phylum, or tribe, governed itself by a muster of sachems and caciques, each of whom were elected by the adults of the claims they represented.

Squash Woman and the sachems of the other splintered clans of the related Indians from along the river to be extremely frustrating.

Then one day, determined to force the recalcitrant sachems into a decision of some nature, Arsen projected one of the whaleboats upriver from the island, saw Squash Woman and all the rest go aboard it, then projected it and them to the place of stone ruins across the western mountains, he and Lisa following quickly in their carriers.

Who would not, will not, if he can, Bathe in the breezes of fair Cape Ann, Rest in the bowers her bays enfold, Loved by the sachems and squaws of old?

That meant that, once arrived, the sachem would assuredly be considered by the Indians to be wiser than Squash Woman and, therefore, would become automatically the head of the council of sachems, and Arsen meant to get cozy with him before Squash Woman and her cronies could get him set into their intransigent mold of total non-cooperation and endless demands for foods and gifts.

Tents for the shamans and canopies for the sachems formed a vast circle in the field, in the center of which the fires burned.

The shamans and sachems shuffled themselves into two semicircular rows, facing Stone and Gail.

The women talk among themselves, and the sachems talk things over with their women in the evenings, and they go to the council the following day and puff out their chests and talk big and say what their women tell them to say.