chap·​lain ˈcha-plən How to pronounce chaplain (audio)
: a clergyman in charge of a chapel
: a clergyman officially attached to a branch of the military, to an institution, or to a family or court
: a person chosen to conduct religious exercises (as at a meeting of a club or society)
: a clergyman appointed to assist a bishop (as at a liturgical function)
chaplaincy noun

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The ceremony will conclude with a prayer offered by the post chaplain. Carol Kovach, cleveland, 28 Nov. 2022 Sherman watched through a window while Humphreys searched and noticed the chaplain was quietly talking to himself. Quinn Clark, Journal Sentinel, 26 Sep. 2022 The service will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor, with prayers said by the rector of Sandringham, the minister of Crathie Kirk, Balmoral, and the chaplain of Windsor Great Park. WSJ, 19 Sep. 2022 The school chaplain talked to my grandson in a short one-on-one session. Annie Lane, oregonlive, 18 Sep. 2022 The school chaplain talked to my grandson in a short one-on-one session. Annie Lane, cleveland, 18 Sep. 2022 In July, Adeel Zeb, the Muslim chaplain for the Claremont Colleges, near Los Angeles, posted on Facebook about something that was bothering him. Emma Green, The New Yorker, 9 Sep. 2022 Protective orders required Alvarado to stay at least 100 feet away from Graham and the chaplain's assistant. Vianna Davila, ProPublica, 18 Aug. 2022 In addition to offering support for Marines, the chaplain made a point of comforting the children, particularly those wounded fatally. John Baldoni, Forbes, 8 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of chaplain was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near chaplain

Cite this Entry

“Chaplain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


chap·​lain ˈchap-lən How to pronounce chaplain (audio)
: a member of the clergy officially attached to a special group (as the army)
: a person chosen to conduct religious exercises (as for a club)
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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