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[chap-lin] /ˈtʃæp lɪn/
an ecclesiastic attached to the chapel of a royal court, college, etc., or to a military unit.
a person who says the prayer, invocation, etc., for an organization or at an assembly.
Origin of chaplain
before 1100; Middle English chapelain < Middle French < Late Latin cappellānus custodian of St. Martin's cloak (see chapel, -an); replacing Old English capellan < Late Latin, as above
Related forms
chaplaincy, chaplainship, chaplainry, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for chaplain
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was also asserted that the Commissioners had recognised him as the chaplain of the asylum.

    Norfolk Annals Charles Mackie
  • The chaplain comprehends fully now, turns pale, and shudders.

    The Dop Doctor Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • I made a clean breast of it to the chaplain and he helped me a lot.

    Betty at Fort Blizzard Molly Elliot Seawell
  • "It must not come to a struggle, Saxham," says the chaplain, very pale.

    The Dop Doctor Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • A second chaplain was subsequently added by the benefaction of one William de Homelyn.

British Dictionary definitions for chaplain


a Christian clergyman attached to a private chapel of a prominent person or institution or ministering to a military body, professional group, etc: a military chaplain, a prison chaplain
Derived Forms
chaplaincy, chaplainship, chaplainry, noun
Word Origin
C12: from Old French chapelain, from Late Latin cappellānus, from cappellachapel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for chaplain

mid-14c., "minister of a chapel," from Old French chapelein "clergyman" (Modern French chapelain), from Medieval Latin cappellanus "clergyman," originally "custodian of St. Martin's cloak" (see chapel). Replaced Old English capellane (from the same Medieval Latin source) "clergyman who conducts private religious services," originally in great households, later in military regiments, prisons, etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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