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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.
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. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for chaplainship


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
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Word Origin and History for chaplainship



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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Encyclopedia Article for chaplainship


originally a priest or minister who had charge of a chapel, now an ordained member of the clergy who is assigned to a special ministry. The title dates to the early centuries of the Christian church

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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