The Abbreviation for Chapter: What Is It and How Is It Used?

Do you want to know the standard abbreviation for chapter in English? The abbreviations used for this word are easy to remember and simple to write. Plus, we’ve got all the additional details you need—definitions, sentence examples, etymology, and more!

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Let’s start out with the common abbreviations for chapter.

There are two ways to abbreviate the word chapter.

  •     Ch.
  •     Chap.

These are often used in situations where space is a concern, such as a headline or a  title that requires brevity. You may also want to use the abbreviation of chapter when you’re taking notes.

What Does Chapter Mean?

According to, chapter is defined in the following way:



  1. a main division of a book, treatise, or the like, usually bearing a number or title.
  2. a branch, usually restricted to a given locality, of a society, organization, fraternity, etc.
  3.  an important portion or division of anything.
  4.  Ecclesiastical.
    1.  an assembly of the monks in a monastery, of those in a province, or of the entire order.
    2. a general assembly of the canons of a church.
    3. a meeting of the elected representatives of the provinces or houses of a religious community.
    4. the body of such canons or representatives collectively.
  5.  any general assembly.
  6. 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.
  7. Horology. any of the marks or numerals designating the hours on a dial.

Verb (used with object)

  1. to divide into or arrange in chapters.”

Synonyms for Chapter 

  •     affiliate
  •     branch
  •     division
  •     episode
  •     member
  •     phase
  •     stage
  •     unit
  •     clause
  •     offshoot
  •     part
  •     period
  •     topic
  •     wing

The History of the Word 

The word chapter, meaning “the main division of a book,” came from the Old French word chapitre (twelfth century), a word that refers to a chapter of a book, article, cathedral, etc. It is an alteration of the word chapitle, which is derived from the Late Latin word capitulum, which, in turn, came from caput or “head.” In Medieval Latin, capitulum also meant “little head,” or council.  

When it comes to the modern definition of the word chapter, meaning a local branch of an organization, this sense came from the Catholic Church in 1815. At that time, people began to refer to bodies of the canons of a cathedral as chapters.

When to Use the Abbreviation

For works cited pages in MLA format, the chapter cited will not be abbreviated in this way. According to most publication manuals, one will list the author, the title of the book, the city of publication, and a page range, rather than a list of the chapters used.

In other instances, however, one can abbreviate the word chapter after the full word is used for the first time, granted the period is always included for grammatical accuracy. Abbreviations could be used for in-text citations, note-taking, edits for essays and other documents, et cetera. The word chapter would not usually be abbreviated in general prose.

10 Examples That Use Chapter Correctly 

  1. In the United States, so many incredible writers have been born. Toni Morrison, Ernest Hemingway, Harper Lee. All have penned chapters that many of us will remember for the rest of our lives.
  2. “What is a good abbreviation for chapter, Bob?” asked Meryl. “Would it be chpt.?”
    “Nope,” Bob grunted from behind his newspaper, “The only abbreviations for chapter are ch. and chap. Don’t forget the periods.
  3. I got through a couple of chapters of his debut book before chucking it out.
  4. Have you ever been to New York City? I used to read about it in books when I was a little kid. Chapter after chapter, I fell more in love with the Big Apple. 
  5. I’ve always wondered what the differences between MLA and APA style actually are. Does it have anything to do with the way that chapters are abbreviated? 
  6. Read Chap. 7, pp. 98-109. 
  7. Did you add ch. headings to your novel?
  8. I’d never read a chapter of a book, and I could only read lowercase letters. 
  9. He quoted from a chapter of holy verse. 
  10. The southern chapter of the organization had set up shop across the street.