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[chap-ter] /ˈtʃæp tər/
a main division of a book, treatise, or the like, usually bearing a number or title.
a branch, usually restricted to a given locality, of a society, organization, fraternity, etc.:
the Connecticut chapter of the American Red Cross.
an important portion or division of anything:
The atomic bomb opened a new chapter in history.
  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.
any general assembly.
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.
Horology. any of the marks or numerals designating the hours on a dial.
verb (used with object)
to divide into or arrange in chapters.
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 forms
chapteral, adjective
unchapter, verb (used with object)
unchaptered, adjective
3. era, episode, period, phase. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for chapter
  • Each chapter of the book covers a group of elements and a specific part of science history.
  • Later that paper was included as a chapter in an edited book by the adviser in a field.
  • They should have been listed as the chapter authors and the faculty member as the book editor.
  • In the final chapter of your book, you suggest that the world may be a hologram.
  • It is definitely not the kind of book that has action in every chapter, but it's more about what's going on around the characters.
  • His take on terrorism in the book's penultimate chapter is refreshing.
  • The site is interactive with the book by chapter and page number.
  • Yet here you write this book and not one chapter is devoted to how you first met.
  • And every once in a while, a whole chapter gets a rewrite.
  • And they comprise a fascinating chapter in the story of the modern horse.
British Dictionary definitions for chapter


a division of a written work, esp a narrative, usually titled or numbered
a sequence of events having a common attribute: a chapter of disasters
chapter of accidents
  1. a series of misfortunes
  2. the unforeseeable course of events
an episode or period in a life, history, etc
a numbered reference to that part of a Parliamentary session which relates to a specified Act of Parliament
a branch of some societies, clubs, etc, esp of a secret society
the collective body or a meeting of the canons of a cathedral or collegiate church or of the members of a monastic or knightly order related adjective capitular
a general assembly of some organization
chapter and verse, exact authority for an action or statement
(transitive) to divide into chapters
Word Origin
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
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 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
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Slang definitions & phrases for chapter


  1. A division of a sports contest, esp an inning of baseball; canto
  2. An episode, period, or passage: Please don't remind me of that revoltingly squalid chapter in my life (1940s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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chapter in the Bible

The several books of the Old and New Testaments were from an early time divided into chapters. The Pentateuch was divided by the ancient Hebrews into 54 _parshioth_ or sections, one of which was read in the synagogue every Sabbath day (Acts. 13:15). These sections were afterwards divided into 669 _sidrim_ or orders of unequal length. The Prophets were divided in somewhat the same manner into _haphtaroth_ or passages. In the early Latin and Greek versions of the Bible, similar divisions of the several books were made. The New Testament books were also divided into portions of various lengths under different names, such as titles and heads or chapters. In modern times this ancient example was imitated, and many attempts of the kind were made before the existing division into chapters was fixed. The Latin Bible published by Cardinal Hugo of St. Cher in A.D. 1240 is generally regarded as the first Bible that was divided into our present chapters, although it appears that some of the chapters were fixed as early as A.D. 1059. This division into chapters came gradually to be adopted in the published editions of the Hebrew, with some few variations, and of the Greek Scriptures, and hence of other versions.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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