chap·​lain | \ ˈcha-plən How to pronounce chaplain (audio) \

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 How to pronounce chaplaincy (audio) \ noun

Examples of chaplain in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sister Jean — the 98-year-old team chaplain for Loyola of Chicago turned media darling — is having a second run of her bobblehead. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Be MKE: Beer garden opening dates, mean Vikings fans and the Sister Jean bobblehead," 28 Mar. 2018 In 2014, an associate chaplain who's black found a bucket of urine in front of his office, and a predominantly white fraternity canceled an off-campus party that critics said caricatured black culture. NBC News, "Racist, homophobic, threatening emails leave Wake Forest University on edge," 25 Jan. 2020 Robert Fletcher was buried at Arlington in 2018 with standard honors: a casket team, a firing party, a bugler and a chaplain. Angie Jackson, Detroit Free Press, "How a daughter's fight won full-honor burials for POWs, Medal of Honor recipients," 7 Jan. 2020 The death of a baby brings a unique kind of grief, said Gwynneth Livesay, a regional chaplain who works at the hospital, because parents are also mourning the lost possibilities for that child’s future. Lauren Caruba,, "A special cooled bed provided San Antonio parents more time to say goodbye after their baby was stillborn," 6 Jan. 2020 After his head had been shaved to allow for an electrode connection, he was escorted to the chair by the warden, five guards and a chaplain. Tribune Media Services, al, "Alabama woman finds toys given to grandfather are link to 1947 murder," 5 Jan. 2020 Rawlinitis Chenery is a 21-year member of the Air National Guard, and on track to become a chaplain. Steve Smith,, "Cup Of Joy Opens Near Fountain Green," 10 Dec. 2019 The man had struck and killed a pedestrian in Leesburg that June, when he was approached by Brantley, who called himself a chaplain. Jeff Weiner,, "Unlicensed contractor scammed elderly homeowner out of $60K for ‘little to no work,’ cops say," 18 Sep. 2019 The ceremony began with an invocation from a chaplain with the Glendale Police Department and was followed by a flag-raising ceremony. Brieanna J. Frank, azcentral, "'I don't know how to thank them:' U.S. Army veteran gets keys to renovated Glendale home," 6 July 2019

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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Time Traveler for chaplain

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for chaplain

Last Updated

23 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Chaplain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for chaplain


How to pronounce chaplain (audio)

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 How to pronounce chaplain (audio) \

Kids Definition of chaplain

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

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