I suppose the "executive chief" is the correct one. Why? Because I see the "executive" as an adjective and the "chief" as a noun, like the "executive director". But in the resources, it is written like this: "chief executive". Which one is correct and why?

  1. executive chief


2- chief executive

  • 1
    Note: An "executive chef" is a fairly common job title that is at least linguistically closely related to an "executive chief". – The Photon Feb 5 at 18:59

They're both grammatical (both words exist as nouns and adjectives).

But in the iWeb corpus, "executive chief" is found 147 times, and "chief executive" 209,805 times.

This indicates that "chief executive" is a common phrase, and the other way around is hardly used.

  • 1
    Notice that most (not all) of the instances of "executive chief" are not the complete noun phrase. Most are just the start of a phrase like "executive chief engineer" or "executive chief superintendant", so "chief" is still functioning as an adjective in these examples. – The Photon Feb 5 at 18:59
  • 2
    A few examples seem to use "executive chief" as a short form for "executive chief deputy" (a position in a sheriff's department). And the main example where "chief" really is used as a noun are as part of the title "executive chief of staff". – The Photon Feb 5 at 19:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.