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 \ ˈcha-​plən-​sē \ noun

Examples of chaplain in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Conroy has served as the chamber's chaplain since 2011. Fox News, "Ryan allows Rev. Patrick Conroy to keep job after House chaplain rescinds resignation," 2 Oct. 2018 As a chaplain, he was not allowed to carry weapons, but was instead assigned an armed officer as bodyguard. Diane Dachota,, "Army chaplain and Lutheran minister to lead Western Springs Memorial Day parade," 15 May 2018 Then-Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, nominated Conroy as chaplain in May 2011, in consultation with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and he was sworn in that month. NBC News, "Father Patrick Conroy sworn back in as House chaplain," 8 May 2018 Perrault had been a chaplain at the base in Albuquerque. Fox News, "The Latest: Fugitive priest pleads not guilty to sex abuse," 21 Sep. 2018 Conroy has served as the chamber's chaplain since 2011 but offered his resignation last week at Ryan's urging. CBS News, "House chaplain's firing sparks confusion, frustration," 27 Apr. 2018 Gregory's great uncle was Father Bill Cross, Farfsing said, who was the chaplain at Purcell Marian for many years. Chris Mayhew,, "What we know: Fatal shooting of Purcell Marian student Gregory Thompson, Jr.," 5 Mar. 2018 Risher worked as a trauma chaplain at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, helping countless people through their grief. Author: Katie Zezima, Anchorage Daily News, "Mass shooting survivors find solace in one another," 24 Feb. 2018 Many states, including Texas, New York, Florida, and the District of Columbia, have a prison chaplain deliver the news. Christie Thompson, sacbee, "Your loved one dies. The prison leaves a voicemail," 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

14 Jan 2019

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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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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

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