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.
an assembly of the monks in a monastery, of those in a province, or of the entire order.
a general assembly of the canons of a church.
a meeting of the elected representatives of the provinces or houses of a religious community.
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

chapteral, adjective
unchapter, verb (used with object)
unchaptered, adjective

3. era, episode, period, phase. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
chapter (ˈtʃæptə)
1.  a division of a written work, esp a narrative, usually titled or numbered
2.  a sequence of events having a common attribute: a chapter of disasters
3.  chapter of accidents
 a.  a series of misfortunes
 b.  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: capitular
8.  a general assembly of some organization
9.  chapter and verse exact authority for an action or statement
10.  (tr) to divide into chapters
Related: capitular
[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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1200, "main division of a book," from O.Fr. chapitre, alt. of chapitle, from L. capitulum, dim. of caput (gen. capitis) "head" (see head). Sense of "local branch" traces to convocations of canons at cathedral churches, during which the rules of the order or a chapter (capitulum)
of Scripture were read aloud.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Chapter definition

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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