dea·​con ˈdē-kən How to pronounce deacon (audio)
plural deacons
: a subordinate officer in a Christian church: such as
: a Roman Catholic, Anglican, or Eastern Orthodox cleric ranking next below a priest
: one of the laity elected by a church with congregational polity to serve in worship, in pastoral care, and on administrative committees
: a Mormon in the lowest grade of the Aaronic priesthood

Examples of deacon in a Sentence

my cousin was married by his uncle, who is also a deacon in his church
Recent Examples on the Web The family of an Atlanta church deacon killed in police custody is calling for the officer who used a Taser on him to be arrested. Melissa Noel, Essence, 11 Sep. 2023 Hollman, a father of five who for 15 years served as chairman of deacons at a southwest Atlanta church, was involved in the minor crash while on his way home. Caroline Silva, ajc, 8 Sep. 2023 He was also charged in the June 9, 2006, shooting death of Walter Hill, a 91-year-old church deacon. Greg Garrison | , al, 13 Aug. 2023 One of the deacons—only men were allowed to be deacons—phoned my mother. Jamie Quatro, The New Yorker, 31 July 2023 Church deacons, including men, rallied to her defense. Ruth Graham, New York Times, 13 June 2023 It’s structured like an NBA Slam Dunk contest, but the competition is between church deacons. Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2023 As of 2018, the diocese had 45 priests, 110 deacons and 455 religious brothers and sisters in 82 parishes and 11 pastoral centers, with over 45,000 students across 41 elementary schools, eight high schools and two Catholic colleges. Roland Li, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 May 2023 Among the accounts: A deacon who admitted abusing more than 100 children. Lee O. Sanderlin, Baltimore Sun, 5 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'deacon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English dekene, from Old English dēacon, from Late Latin diaconus, from Greek diakonos, literally, servant, from dia- + -konos (akin to enkonein to be active); perhaps akin to Latin conari to attempt

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of deacon was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near deacon

Cite this Entry

“Deacon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


dea·​con ˈdē-kən How to pronounce deacon (audio)
: a member of the Christian clergy next below a priest
: a church member in various Christian churches who has special duties

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