apos·​tle | \ə-ˈpä-səl \

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 \-​ˌship \ noun

Examples of apostle in a Sentence

a fervent apostle of universal health care

Recent Examples on the Web

In the run-up to the war, Ruffin became a sort of reactionary Zelig, stumping the South as an apostle of secession, turning up at John Brown’s hanging, firing the first shot against Fort Sumter, marching into combat at the First Battle of Bull Run. Fergus M. Bordewich, WSJ, "‘Looming Civil War’ Review: Anticipating the Apocalypse," 2 Oct. 2018 And so is an erudite, closely reasoned defense of those ideas: An apostle can help explain a messiah. Andrew Stuttaford, WSJ, "‘Marx and Marxism’ and ‘A World to Win’ Review: Better Dead Than Read," 5 July 2018 With thoughts on the past and eyes to the future, thousands marched and sang civil rights songs Wednesday to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the ‘‘apostle of nonviolence’’ silenced by an assassin 50 years ago. BostonGlobe.com, "MLK honored as thousands march to ‘keep the dream going’," 4 Apr. 2018 In the lower one, the deceased Virgin lies in deathlike sleep amid a gathering of apostles. New York Times, "Review: Art for the Soul in ‘Fra Angelico: Heaven on Earth’," 16 May 2018 Cycling the Camino Each year thousands of pilgrims travel the Camino de Santiago to Santiago de Compostela, the site in northwest Spain that supposedly holds the remains of the apostle St. James. Phil Marty, chicagotribune.com, "Mother-daughter adventures abroad, cycling the Camino de Santiago and more," 17 Apr. 2018 Judas, the apostle known for betraying Jesus, is believed to be the 13th guest at the Last Supper. Emily Deciccio, Fox News, "Why is Friday the 13th so spooky?," 13 July 2018 In the Gospel of Mary, which isn’t officially recognized by the Church, Mary Magdalene is framed as the only disciple who truly understands Jesus’ spiritual message, which puts her in direct conflict with the apostle Peter. Time, "The Real Reason Why Mary Magdalene Is Such a Controversial Figure," 30 Mar. 2018 Joseph Smith founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830 in Palmyra, New York, after God revealed to him that the true Gospel had disappeared, corrupted following the death of Jesus and his apostles. Sarah Scoles, Longreads, "Meet the New Mormons," 8 June 2018

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, from Anglo-French & Old English; Anglo-French apostle & Old English apostol, both from Late Latin apostolus, from Greek apostolos, from apostellein to send away, from apo- + stellein to send

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Statistics for apostle

Last Updated

18 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for apostle

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

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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 \

Kids Definition of apostle

: one of the twelve close followers of Jesus

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Comments on apostle

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to enclose within walls

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