chap·​lain ˈcha-plən How to pronounce chaplain (audio)
: a clergyman in charge of a chapel
: a clergyman officially attached to a branch of the military, to an institution, or to a family or court
: a person chosen to conduct religious exercises (as at a meeting of a club or society)
: a clergyman appointed to assist a bishop (as at a liturgical function)
chaplaincy noun

Examples of chaplain in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The service at the American Legion earlier in the week was a tribute to David, those courageous chaplains, and the 672 brave young men who lost their lives on that fateful night. Kevin Dayhoff, Baltimore Sun, 14 Feb. 2024 And the school held events aimed at fostering dialogue, including a panel with chaplains from multiple faiths, a student summit on free expression led by PEN America, and a discussion for faculty about engaging with difficult topics in the classroom. Susan Svrluga, Washington Post, 4 Feb. 2024 At the beginning of the solemn movement, Biden, the first lady and other military officials walked up to the plane and stood with their heads bowed down as a chaplain offered prayers. Ayesha Ali, ABC News, 2 Feb. 2024 Officials said military chaplains and behavioral health personnel are being provided to support members of the unit. Stephen Sorace, Fox News, 18 Dec. 2023 Graduates can go on to be field ministers, serving as peer mentors or as chaplains' assistants. Frank E. Lockwood,, 11 Nov. 2023 For Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Muslim chaplain Jaye Star, her extended family was planning a wedding in Turkey in May. Jen Gubitz, Los Angeles Times, 2 Oct. 2023 Still, when a chaplain calling from Florida explained his brother was dead, Connor couldn’t fathom the news, couldn’t process the shock. Hayes Gardner, Baltimore Sun, 13 July 2023 For many of the university chaplains and faith leaders caring for students angered and shaken by the Israel-Hamas war, the needs are acute, the days intense. Mariam Fam, Fortune, 28 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chaplain.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English chapelein, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin cappellanus, from cappella

First Known Use

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of chaplain was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near chaplain

Cite this Entry

“Chaplain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


chap·​lain ˈchap-lən How to pronounce chaplain (audio)
: a member of the clergy officially attached to a special group (as the army)
: a person chosen to conduct religious exercises (as for a club)
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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