apos·​tle | \ ə-ˈpä-səl How to pronounce apostle (audio) \

Definition of apostle

1 : one sent on a mission: such as
a : one of an authoritative New Testament group sent out to preach the gospel and made up especially of Christ's 12 original disciples and Paul
b : the first prominent Christian missionary to a region or group St. Boniface, the Apostle of Germany
2a : a person who initiates a great moral reform or who first advocates an important belief or system
b : an ardent supporter : adherent apostles of high technology
3 : the highest ecclesiastical official in some church organizations
4 : one of a Mormon administrative council of 12 men

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Other Words from apostle

apostleship \ ə-​ˈpä-​səl-​ˌship How to pronounce apostle (audio) \ noun

Examples of apostle in a Sentence

a fervent apostle of universal health care
Recent Examples on the Web Church apostle sounds the alarm about recent actions of some Trump supporters, but the General Conference talk did not let liberals off the hook, either. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Jana Riess: LDS leader Dallin Oaks blasts right-wing extremists, but will they know he’s talking to them?," 5 Apr. 2021 Details: House of Bread apostle, Saint Mary Harris, (870) 872-2196. Arkansas Online, "Calendar for March 14, 2021," 14 Mar. 2021 Bartella is one of about a dozen historically Christian towns on the Nineveh Plains, where the apostle Saint Thomas is said to have converted the polytheistic population just decades after the death of Jesus. New York Times, "In Iraq’s Christian Heartland, a Feud Over a Town’s Identity," 5 Mar. 2021 The James to whom the femur was thought to have belonged had long been understood to be a later apostle, one to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection. Rebecca Coffey, Forbes, "With A ‘Handshake,’ Science And Religion Pry Open Early Mysteries Of The Catholic Church," 3 Mar. 2021 Renlund recently became the second Latter-day Saint apostle to be diagnosed with the coronavirus. Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune, "What would Jesus do? LDS apostle Dale Renlund says wearing a mask shows ‘Christlike’ love.," 7 Dec. 2020 While announcing Monday that some temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints soon will allow members to resume vicarious rituals for their dead ancestors, a prominent doctor-turned-apostle gives a strong directive to wear masks. Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune, "What would Jesus do? LDS apostle Dale Renlund says wearing a mask shows ‘Christlike’ love.," 7 Dec. 2020 Yes, that’s when the popular apostle will turn 80 years old. David Noyce, The Salt Lake Tribune, "This week in Mormon Land: Liberals leery at BYU; Wyoming’s ‘Black 14’ team up with church; Uchtdorf approaches big birthday," 5 Nov. 2020 Benson was the first apostle to serve in a presidential Cabinet. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Jana Riess: How did Latter-day Saints become so Republican?," 7 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apostle.' 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 apostle

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

History and Etymology for apostle

Middle English apostel, apostle, postel, in part going back to Old English apostol, in part borrowed from Anglo-French apostle, apostoile, appostre, both borrowed from Late Latin apostolus "ambassador, Apostle (of the New Testament)," borrowed from Greek apóstolos "messenger, envoy, (Septuagint) messenger from God, (New Testament) Apostle," noun derivative of apostéllein "to send off or away, dispatch," from apo- apo- + stéllein "to set in order, equip, prepare for a journey, send," going back to Indo-European *stel- "put up, prepare," whence also Old Church Slavic posteljǫ, postĭlati "to spread out," Albanian shtiell "wind up, reel up, collect" (from *stel-n-) and perhaps Old Prussian stallīt "to stand," Armenian stełcanem, (aorist) stełci "prepare, create" (with -c- of uncertain origin)

Note: Along with Attic-Ionic stéllein, Greek forms in Lesbian dialect and forms attested by the grammarian Hesychius that appear to be Aeolic show a variant spel-/spol-. This has led to the conjecture of a distinct root *skwel- "set in order" alongside *stel- "send"; however, the evidence for *skwel- outside Greek is exiguous. Germanic *stal(l)jan- "to fix, set, place" (whence Old English stellan, Old Saxon stellian, Old High German stellen) could be an outcome of *stel-, though it is usually taken as denominal from *stalla- "stand, stall, stable" (see stall entry 1).

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Time Traveler for apostle

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for apostle

Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Apostle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apostle. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for apostle



English Language Learners Definition of apostle

: any one of the 12 men chosen by Jesus Christ to spread the Christian religion
: someone who believes in or supports an idea, cause, etc.


apos·​tle | \ ə-ˈpä-səl How to pronounce apostle (audio) \

Kids Definition of apostle

: one of the twelve close followers of Jesus

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