Boss vs. chief

21. 2. 2021

B1- B1 B2 C1

WRONG: I have a meeting with my chief this morning.
RIGHT: I have a meeting with my boss this morning.

This week’s Czenglish mistake is a common one, but one that is fairly easy to correct. It centres around the Czech word ‘šéf’. Let’s explain…

For manager or supervisor, the word ‘chief’ is used only in a few specific cases, such as Chief of Police, or Indian Chief. For the majority of industries though, we use the word ‘boss’.

The word ‘chief’ is used as an adjective, however, to define the ‘main’ person doing a particular job. So, for example, we might talk about the chief accountant or chief reporter, meaning the most important person in that position.

Another source of confusion is the English word ‘chef’. This refers to someone who works in a kitchen, or ‘cook’ as we also call them. It is pronounced ‘šef’ – which, as stated above, is the Czech word for boss.

Here they are together:

A: My son is a chef. He works at the Spanish restaurant in town.
B: Does he like his job?
A: His job, yes, but he really hates his boss!

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