A chaplain is usually a religious leader — a minister, rabbi, or other clergy member — who works outside of a church or temple.

You can use the word chaplain to describe the minister who counsels patients at your local hospital. Or, a chaplain could also be a priest who lives and works with soldiers on a battlefield (a military chaplain). These days, many chaplains are non-denominational, not associated with any particular religion. The Latin root word, cappellanus, means "clergyman."

Definitions of chaplain
  1. noun
    a clergyman ministering to some institution
    see moresee less
    prison chaplain
    a chaplain in a prison
    hospital chaplain
    a chaplain in a hospital
    Holy Joe, military chaplain, padre, sky pilot
    a chaplain in one of the military services
    type of:
    clergyman, man of the cloth, reverend
    a member of the clergy and a spiritual leader of the Christian Church
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week