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 disciple (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 Desai is a disciple of Vic Fangio with a knack for not only understanding his players’ strengths but knowing how to maximize those within game situations. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, 2 Aug. 2021 The board also discussed student disciple but did not take action, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. David Aaro, Fox News, 23 June 2021 Ask Matt Patricia, late of Detroit and the latest Belichick disciple to fail. Dave Hyde, sun-sentinel.com, 27 July 2021 Vigil played four seasons in Cincinnati, including two seasons under then-Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, a Zimmer disciple who now serves as his senior defensive assistant. Mark Craig, Star Tribune, 27 July 2021 In 1989, the year that Bulgaria’s Communist regime collapsed, Dimchev, then thirteen, enrolled in a youth drama club led by the director Nikolai Georgiev, a disciple of the avant-garde theatre practitioner Jerzy Grotowski. Dimiter Kenarov, The New Yorker, 23 July 2021 Also awaiting Senate confirmation is Federal Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra, a Warren disciple nominated to lead the CFPB. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 16 July 2021 Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn isn’t a Belichick disciple, and with Detroit switching to a 3-4 defense, Flowers will line up at outside linebacker in the Lions’ base look. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, 3 July 2021 Datta met Ramakrishna, became his disciple, and dedicated his life to spreading his master’s teachings. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Aug. 2021

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

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

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Disciples of Christ

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Last Updated

15 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disciple.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disciple. Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for disciple



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 : apostle


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
2 : apostle

More from Merriam-Webster on disciple

Nglish: Translation of disciple for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of disciple for Arabic Speakers


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