chap·lain | \ ˈcha-plən \

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 \-sē \ noun

Examples of chaplain in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Debra Smith came to Southwestern in her late-30s to become a hospice chaplain – the same year Patterson became president there, in 2003. Author: Michelle Boorstein, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Anchorage Daily News, "How women led to the dramatic rise and fall of Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson," 11 June 2018 Here now, Father Rob Hagan, Villanova's associate athletic director and team chaplain. Fox News, "EPA chief Pruitt addresses criticism in Fox News interview," 5 Apr. 2018 Now 98, Sister Jean has served as the team’s chaplain since ’94 and still compiles scouting reports on all the Ramblers’ opponents. Andy Staples,, "Why Loyola-Chicago Is March's Last Cinderella Standing," 22 Mar. 2018 The star of the tournament was 98-year-old nun Sister Jean, the team chaplain for Loyola-Chicago. Jill Martin, CNN, "Villanova dominates Michigan to win 2nd national title in 3 years," 3 Apr. 2018 Perhaps just as improbable as the No. 11 seed Ramblers' run to NCAA glory is the rapid rise in public awareness of Sister Jean, the team's 98-year-old chaplain. Michael Reader, charlotteobserver, "This nun is core to the heaven-sent story of the Final Four. The Panthers want in.," 26 Mar. 2018 Her family has benefited from Snowline's social workers, home health aides, chaplains, primary-care providers and nurse case managers. Cathie Anderson, sacbee, "This type of care can sharply reduce medical costs, so why aren't doctors ordering it?," 25 June 2018 The president may have been contemplating his next betrayals of liberty; but his stocky old chaplain was perhaps just marvelling at the convoluted ways of God. The Economist, "Obituary: Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo, the first cardinal from Central America," 23 June 2018 The list included former teachers, chaplains, a counselor and an admissions officer. Stephanie Morales, Fox News, "Prep school says it will pay for abused alumni's therapy," 22 June 2018

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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Statistics for chaplain

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chaplain

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

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More Definitions for chaplain



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 \

Kids Definition of chaplain

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

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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).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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