chap·​lain | \ ˈcha-plən How to pronounce chaplain (audio) \

Definition of chaplain

1 : a clergyman in charge of a chapel
2 : a clergyman officially attached to a branch of the military, to an institution, or to a family or court
3 : a person chosen to conduct religious exercises (as at a meeting of a club or society)
4 : a clergyman appointed to assist a bishop (as at a liturgical function)

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Other Words from chaplain

chaplaincy \ ˈcha-​plən-​sē How to pronounce chaplaincy (audio) \ noun

Examples of chaplain in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Doctors, chaplains, patients or patient family members can request a consultation with the committee. Dallas News, "6 things to know about Tinslee Lewis, the Fort Worth infant on life support at Cook Children’s," 4 Jan. 2020 Together, your care team, (physicians, nurses, CNAs, social workers, chaplains, grief counselors, volunteers) guides and supports you. David L. Stevenson, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Hospice care — You and your family aren’t alone," 26 Dec. 2019 Another entertainer, hospital chaplain Wynne Roberts, received the British Empire Medal for raising roughly $328,000 for charity by performing as Elvis Presley dozens of times a year. Gregory Katz, USA TODAY, "Olivia Newton-John named a dame in British honors list," 18 Dec. 2019 Malone later endorsed the same priest for a job as a cruise ship chaplain, even after he was also accused of making unwanted advances toward young men. Fortune, "Buffalo Bishop Resigns After Criticism of His Management of Sex Abuse Scandal," 4 Dec. 2019 Malone later endorsed the same priest for a job as a cruise ship chaplain, even after he was also accused of making unwanted advances toward young men. NBC News, "Pope Francis accepts resignation of Buffalo bishop under fire over handling of abuse claims," 4 Dec. 2019 Inside, his successor, Bishop Nelson Perez, led a funeral Mass for Lennon, a relative of firefighters and a former Boston fire chaplain, who oversaw the Cleveland diocese from 2006 to 2016. Grant Segall, cleveland, "Clelveland Catholic diocese Bishop Richard Lennon celebrated and interred at Cathedral of St. John," 5 Nov. 2019 Seven years later, the two chaplains not only parent a 3-year-old daughter named Hunter, but also use their shared Christian principles to equip couples with the necessary skills needed to form long-lasting marriages. Joi-marie Mckenzie, Essence, "Why I Think This Celebrity Wedding Officiant Is The Marriage Counselor You Need," 29 Oct. 2019 Those can range from a shower unit, childcare unit, rapid response feeding unit, and are manned by shower teams, assessors, mud out teams, tarp teams, chaplains, administrative teams, and a white hat to oversee the project. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Southern Baptists organize Imelda help for Liberty County," 9 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chaplain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of chaplain

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for chaplain

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

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Time Traveler for chaplain

Time Traveler

The first known use of chaplain was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Chaplain.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for chaplain


How to pronounce chaplain (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of chaplain

: a priest or other Christian religious leader who performs religious services for a military group (such as the army) or for a prison, hospital, etc.


chap·​lain | \ ˈcha-plən How to pronounce chaplain (audio) \

Kids Definition of chaplain

: a member of the clergy who performs religious services for a special group (as the army)

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More from Merriam-Webster on chaplain

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chaplain

Spanish Central: Translation of chaplain

Nglish: Translation of chaplain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chaplain for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about chaplain

Comments on chaplain

What made you want to look up chaplain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to insert between existing elements

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