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

Gislain, now a student at the University of Puget Sound, was among those admonishing fellow Methodists in a public letter penned by her university chaplain, the Rev. Dave Wright. Katherine Rosenberg-douglas,, "Group of Methodists signs letter charging Sessions with ‘child abuse,’ ‘immorality’ and ‘racial discrimination’," 19 June 2018 Thomas Conway, 37, was the chaplain aboard the USS Indianapolis, the last American ship to sink in World War II. Bill Leukhardt, Courant Community, "Waterbury Hero Priest Was Always Considered A Saint; Now Some Want To Make It Official," 28 May 2018 If Jesus himself were House chaplain, Paul Ryan would most certainly fire him. David B. Gowler, Fortune, "Commentary: Let’s Be Honest: Paul Ryan Would Fire Jesus as House Chaplain," 1 May 2018 According to the Boston Globe, White was associate chaplain at St. George’s School in Rhode Island at the time. Joe Marusak, charlotteobserver, "Ex-Episcopal priest accused of child sex assaults in the North Carolina mountains | Charlotte Observer," 16 Apr. 2018 The controversy has largely subsided since the resignation was canceled, and Conroy has continued in his daily duties and activities as chaplain. Ashley Killough, CNN, "Paul Ryan says America needs Catholicism weeks after failed chaplain ousting," 24 May 2018 Over 20 years of law enforcement experience with the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections, including 17 years in current position as chaplain. Nick Hollkamp, The Courier-Journal, "Voters guide: Candidates for Jefferson County attorney and other races," 15 May 2018 Conroy has served as the chamber’s chaplain since 2011. Fox News, "House chaplain delivers 1st prayer since rescinding resignation," 7 May 2018 Rivera said as doctors, psychologists and chaplains gathered to meet with the victims’ relatives. Washington Post, "60-year-old C-130 that crashed in Georgia was on final trip," 2 May 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

19 Oct 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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one that holds something together

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