Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to chief: Chief Joseph
chief cook and bottle washer
Fig. the person in charge of practically everything (such as in a very small business). I'm the chief cook and bottle washer around here. I do everything.
Too many chiefs and not enough Indians.
Prov. Too many people want to be the leader, and not enough people are willing to follow to do the detail work. Everyone on that committee wants to be in charge. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians. We'll never finish this project if everyone keeps trying to give orders. There are too many chiefs and not enough Indians.
be chief cook and bottle washer(humorous)
to be the person who is responsible for cooking meals and washing the pans and dishes It's my birthday party, so Alan is chief cook and bottle washer tonight.
too many chiefs (and not enough Indians)
too many bosses, and not enough people to do the work I can't find anyone to do the photocopying. There are too many chiefs and not enough Indians in this company.
chief cook and bottlewasher
A person in charge of numerous duties, both vital and trivial, as in We have no secretaries or clerks; the department head is chief cook and bottlewasher and does it all . [Slang; c. 1840]
n. the person in charge. (Also a term of address.) You got a couple of clams to pay the toll with, chief?
head cook and bottle washerand chief cook and bottle washer
n. someone who is in charge of trivial things as well as the important things. Ten years I’m here, and I’m just the head cook and bottle washer. The chief cook and bottle washer ends up doing everything that has to be done.