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 ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.