Sentence: "Happiness is the chief/chiefest aim of mankind"

According to my textbook(common mistakes in english) "chief" is correct here. {And there's no reason given.}

So, how to decide between these two?

  • 3
    You find chiefest in older literature, but it isn't used today. – Kate Bunting Jan 24 at 15:16
  • You're damn good at english language. Grateful to learn from people like you. – Navdeep Singh Jan 24 at 15:18

Chiefest is not a word in common use (the iWeb corpus has 955 instances, against 712499 of chief as an adverb adjective). It is only used today as a deliberate archaism.

I suggest you do not use it.


Nowadays, chief means

Most important.

and hence "chiefest" would mean "most most important." This would make sense only in a discussion where you had a group of chief things, and then singled one out as the "chiefest," and is not generally used today

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