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

The service will be conducted by Charles R. Lindsay, a Philadelphia fire chaplain and friend of Mr. Dolan’s. Bonnie L. Cook,, "Brian F. Dolan, 45, Philadelphia firefighter and Navy veteran," 14 May 2018 The company chaplain and auxiliary vice president has been an auxiliary member since 1974 and fire company member since 1977. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Level Volunteer Fire Company celebrates 65 years of service to its community," 8 Mar. 2018 Within about 20 minutes, the four chaplains and 670 others went down with the ship. Aric Chokey,, "Ceremony honors Four Chaplains who saved sailors in World War II," 28 Jan. 2018 Photos of Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, a 98-year-old nun who has been the Loyola Ramblers' team chaplain since 1994. Ted Gregory,, "Becoming a bobblehead without getting big-headed: Sister Jean dishes on Loyola's NCAA run, her abrupt fame and her advice to Charles Barkley," 25 May 2018 Conroy was a popular teacher, coach and adviser at Beaverton's Jesuit High School, serving on the staff from 2004 until 2011, when he was tapped to be House chaplain. The Washington Post,, "Chaplain from Oregon sworn back in by U.S. House speaker Ryan," 8 May 2018 Thornton had been chaplain for Marine Forces Reserve based in New Orleans. Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY, "Navy chaplain fired after he’s caught on video having sex at a New Orleans bar," 4 Apr. 2018 Remember back when Sister Jean was just the cute 98-year-old Loyola-Chicago team chaplain? Khadrice Rollins,, "Sister Jean Divides Basketball Twitter With Final Four Press Conference," 30 Mar. 2018 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

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

9 Feb 2019

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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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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excited commotion or publicity

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