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  1. a main division of a book, treatise, or the like, usually bearing a number or title.
  2. a branch, usually restricted to a given locality, of a society, organization, fraternity, etc.: the Connecticut chapter of the American Red Cross.
  3. an important portion or division of anything: The atomic bomb opened a new chapter in history.
  4. Ecclesiastical.
    1. an assembly of the monks in a monastery, of those in a province, or of the entire order.
    2. a general assembly of the canons of a church.
    3. a meeting of the elected representatives of the provinces or houses of a religious community.
    4. the body of such canons or representatives collectively.
  5. any general assembly.
  6. Liturgy. a short scriptural quotation read at various parts of the office, as after the last psalm in the service of lauds, prime, tierce, etc.
  7. Horology. any of the marks or numerals designating the hours on a dial.
verb (used with object)
  1. to divide into or arrange in chapters.

Origin of chapter

1175–1225; Middle English chapiter, variant of chapitre < Old French < Latin capitulum little head (capit-, stem of caput head + -ulum -ule); in Late Latin: section of a book; in Medieval Latin: section read at a meeting, hence, the meeting, especially one of canons, hence, a body of canons
Related formschap·ter·al, adjectiveun·chap·ter, verb (used with object)un·chap·tered, adjective

Synonyms for chapter

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Chapter 11

or Chapter Eleven, Chapter XI

noun U.S. Law.
  1. a section of the Bankruptcy Code that provides for the reorganization of an insolvent corporation under court supervision and can establish a schedule for the payment of debts and, in some cases, a new corporation that can continue to do business. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for chapter

Contemporary Examples of chapter

Historical Examples of chapter

  • The book in which he did so is not named in the chapter just quoted, but in Numb.

  • The description of Ranelagh (in the chapter on Music) is too lengthy to reproduce.

  • Then he read a chapter in Plutarch about Alexander the Great.

  • They are good words to end a chapter with—hot corn with pepper and butter on it.

    Pee-wee Harris

    Percy Keese Fitzhugh

  • Last of all came the Chapter of our Lady's Church, with all their clergy, scholars, and treasurers.

    Albert Durer

    T. Sturge Moore

British Dictionary definitions for chapter


  1. a division of a written work, esp a narrative, usually titled or numbered
  2. a sequence of events having a common attributea chapter of disasters
  3. chapter of accidents
    1. a series of misfortunes
    2. the unforeseeable course of events
  4. an episode or period in a life, history, etc
  5. a numbered reference to that part of a Parliamentary session which relates to a specified Act of Parliament
  6. a branch of some societies, clubs, etc, esp of a secret society
  7. the collective body or a meeting of the canons of a cathedral or collegiate church or of the members of a monastic or knightly orderRelated adjective: capitular
  8. a general assembly of some organization
  9. chapter and verse exact authority for an action or statement
  1. (tr) to divide into chapters

Word Origin for chapter

C13: from Old French chapitre, from Latin capitulum, literally: little head, hence, section of writing, from caput head; in Medieval Latin: chapter of scripture or of a religious rule, a gathering for the reading of this, hence, assemblage of clergy

chapter 11

  1. US the statute regarding the reorganization of a failing business empowering a court to allow the debtors to remain in control of the business to attempt to save itthey are in chapter 11

Word Origin for chapter 11

C20: from chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Reform Act (1978)
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 chapter

c.1200, "main division of a book," from Old French chapitre (12c.) "chapter (of a book), article (of a treaty), chapter (of a cathedral)," alteration of chapitle, from Late Latin capitulum, diminutive of caput (genitive capitis) "head" (see capitulum). Sense of "local branch" (1815) is from cathedral sense (late 15c.), which seems to trace to convocations of canons at cathedral churches, during which the rules of the order by chapter, or a chapter (capitulum) of Scripture, were read aloud to the assembled. Chapter and verse "in full and thoroughly" (1620s) is a reference to Scripture.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper