[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. chaperon,
  2. chaperone,
  3. chapess,
  4. chapfallen,
  5. chapiter,
  6. chaplaincy,
  7. chaplet,
  8. chaplin,
  9. chaplin, charlie,
  10. chaplinesque

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 formschap·lain·cy, chap·lain·ship, chap·lain·ry, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chaplain

British Dictionary definitions for chaplain


/ (ˈtʃæplɪn) /


a Christian clergyman attached to a private chapel of a prominent person or institution or ministering to a military body, professional group, etca military chaplain; a prison chaplain
Derived Formschaplaincy, chaplainship or chaplainry, noun

Word Origin for chaplain

C12: from Old French chapelain, from Late Latin cappellānus, from cappella chapel

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

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