dis·​ci·​ple | \ di-ˈsī-pəl How to pronounce disciple (audio) \

Definition of disciple

1 : one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another: such as
a Christianity : one of the twelve in the inner circle of Christ's followers according to the Gospel accounts
b : a convinced adherent of a school or individual a disciple of Freud
2 capitalized, Christianity : a member of the Disciples of Christ founded in the U.S. in 1809 that holds the Bible alone to be the rule of faith and practice, usually baptizes by immersion, and has a congregational (see congregational sense 3) polity

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Other Words from disciple

discipleship \ di-​ˈsī-​pəl-​ˌship How to pronounce discipleship (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for disciple

follower, adherent, disciple, partisan mean one who gives full loyalty and support to another. follower may apply to people who attach themselves either to the person or beliefs of another. an evangelist and his followers adherent suggests a close and persistent attachment. adherents to Marxism disciple implies a devoted allegiance to the teachings of one chosen as a master. disciples of Gandhi partisan suggests a zealous often prejudiced attachment. partisans of the President

Examples of disciple in a Sentence

a disciple of Sigmund Freud a circle of dedicated disciples who conscientiously wrote down everything the prophet said
Recent Examples on the Web Chow is a motivational junkie and disciple of Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Cheryl Hall, Dallas News, "Anne Chow, AT&T’s first woman of color CEO in 144 years, adds another groundbreaking role," 28 June 2020 In fact, Astrid feels like a direct disciple of Margot Tenenbaum. Shannon Carlin, refinery29.com, "Why The Politician Season 2 Includes That Strange FaceTime Scene," 21 June 2020 Scangarello, a disciple of San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, struggled in his first gig calling offensive plays in the NFL as the Broncos (7-9) regressed in almost every offensive category in 2019. BostonGlobe.com, "Giants looking to hire Dolphins coordinator Patrick Graham," 12 Jan. 2020 Once a disciple of late Sen. John McCain (who despised Trump) Lindsey Graham is now the President's golf buddy and most vigorous defender. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "An outsider's guide to the men in Trump's impeachment scandal," 2 Oct. 2019 Kingsbury was a quarterback under then-head coach Mike Leach, a disciple of the Air Raid offense (Leach is now the head coach at Washington State University). oregonlive, "Seattle Seahawks look to ground the Arizona Cardinals’ ‘Air Raid’ offense," 26 Sep. 2019 After all, as the father liked to point out, Jesus’ disciples were fisherman. New York Times, "A Father’s Love, Whether He Says Too Much or Not Enough," 29 Apr. 2020 Spielberg and Lucas, once thrifty underdogs, became Hollywood’s most powerful and recognizable purveyors of spectacle, inspiring numerous disciples and copycats in their wake. Los Angeles Times, "The worst summer movie season ever? Nope. It’s time for an #UltimateSummerMovie Showdown," 28 Apr. 2020 Today, on Weibo, the Chinese social-media platform, admirers and disciples continue to address the dead man as a guardian figure meriting almost religious veneration. Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker, "Allan Gurganus on His Interest in Epidemics," 27 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disciple.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of disciple

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for disciple

Middle English, "follower of Jesus, one of the apostles, pupil," in part going back to Old English discipul, in part borrowed from Anglo-French disciple, both borrowed from Late Latin discipulus "follower of Christ, apostle" (translation of Greek mathētḗs), going back to Latin, "pupil, learner," of uncertain origin

Note: Traditionally explained as a derivative of discere "to learn," but the second element -pulus is neither a known word nor a suffix. According to an alternative explanation, the base is nominalized from an unattested verb *discipere, putatively, "to grasp, comprehend," from dis- dis- and capere "to take, seize" (cf. disceptāre "to dispute, debate," supposedly a frequentative from this verb); this is semantically questionable, however, and -ulus is any case not an agentive suffix.

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Time Traveler for disciple

Time Traveler

The first known use of disciple was before the 12th century

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Statistics for disciple

Last Updated

4 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disciple.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disciple. Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for disciple


How to pronounce disciple (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of disciple

: someone who accepts and helps to spread the teachings of a famous person
: one of a group of 12 men who were sent out to spread the teachings of Jesus Christ


dis·​ci·​ple | \ di-ˈsī-pəl How to pronounce disciple (audio) \

Kids Definition of disciple

1 : a person who accepts and helps to spread the teachings of another

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