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1. A member of the clergy attached to a chapel.
a. A member of the clergy who conducts religious services for an institution, such as a prison or hospital.
b. A lay person who is appointed to provide spiritual leadership and counseling to members of an institution, as at a university.
c. A member of the clergy who is connected with a royal court or an aristocratic household.
3. A member of the clergy attached to a branch of the armed forces.
[Middle English chapelein, from Old French chapelain, from Medieval Latin capellānus, from capella, chapel; see chapel.]
chap′lain·cy, chap′lain·ship′ n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.