Definition of chaplain in English:



  • A member of the clergy attached to a private chapel, institution, ship, regiment, etc.

    ‘a prison chaplain’
    • ‘In the early years, there were no social workers, chaplains, or recreational therapists.’
    • ‘In just a short time, the chaplain had affected their lives in a remarkable way.’
    • ‘Each morning we got together to hear God's Word preached by the chaplain.’
    • ‘He spends the next half hour with the chaplain and then the chaplain helps him back to the lines and arranges for him to fly out home.’
    • ‘The idea is for the chaplains to meet members of their community and lend a friendly shoulder in a more informal environment.’
    • ‘A Church Commissioner, he was formerly a vicar in Manchester and earlier an assistant chaplain at Eton.’
    • ‘Coun Dodd is an Anglican priest who spent several years as a hospital chaplain at Castle Hill hospital near Hull.’
    • ‘Witnesses were limited to the hangman and his assistants, a few prison guards and a chaplain.’
    • ‘We now have a church within the hospital which the four chaplains can share and which all of the patients, staff and visitors can avail of.’
    • ‘I recommend this book to all chaplains and their assistants, especially those new to the Chaplain Corps.’
    • ‘Leading fee-paying schools in Edinburgh, meanwhile, have a Presbyterian chaplain.’
    • ‘In a first for any American military branch, a woman has been named chief of chaplains for the U.S. Air Force.’
    • ‘He also was meeting Evangelical chaplains, who seemed to possess something that he lacked.’
    • ‘Doctors, nurses, medical students, as well as chaplains and seminarians have all taken part in the trips.’
    • ‘Prison chaplains reflect the same wide variety of theological beliefs as religious leaders on the other side of the bars.’
    • ‘Chapel attendance was low and many soldiers later said they did not even know who the chaplain was.’
    • ‘Religious influences on the direct experiences of war have often featured the ministry of chaplains.’
    • ‘Catholic and Protestant army chaplains blessed the guns of the troops in England and Germany.’
    • ‘In the course of making an escape from prison Taylor shoots the prison chaplain.’
    • ‘The chaplains suing the Navy say the Chaplain Corps has run without scrutiny for years.’


Middle English: from Old French chapelain, from medieval Latin cappellanus, originally denoting a custodian of the cloak of St Martin, from cappella, originally ‘little cloak’ (see chapel).