a. One of the main divisions of a relatively lengthy piece of writing, such as a book, that is usually numbered or titled.
b. One of the main divisions of a video recording, usually accessible through an onscreen menu.
2. A distinct period or sequence of events, as in history or a person's life: Steamboat travel opened a new chapter in America's exploration of the West.
3. A local branch of an organization, such as a club or fraternity: The Chicago chapter is admitting new members this year.
a. An assembly of the canons of a church or of the members of a religious residence.
b. The canons of a church or the members of a religious residence considered as a group.
5. A short scriptural passage read after the psalms in certain church services.
[Middle English chaptre, variant of chapitre, chapter, chapiter, from Old French, alteration of chapitle, from Latin capitulum, diminutive of caput, head; see kaput- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.