dea·​con·​ess | \ ˈdē-kə-nəs How to pronounce deaconess (audio) \

Definition of deaconess

: a woman chosen to assist in the church ministry specifically : one in a Protestant order

Examples of deaconess in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The virus also claimed the life of Shirley Miller, 70, a deaconess who assisted with baptisms and communion. Ray Sanchez, CNN, 18 Apr. 2020 Today, the deaconesses can again access their own cemetery and visit the graves of their sisters. Washington Post, 30 Oct. 2019 But the pope asked some skeptical questions at the assembly about whether the responsibilities of deaconesses in the early church were more circumscribed than those of male deacons. Elisabetta Povoledo And Laurie Goodstein, New York Times, 12 May 2016

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

First Known Use of deaconess

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About deaconess

Time Traveler for deaconess

Time Traveler

The first known use of deaconess was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near deaconess



Deacon process

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for deaconess

Cite this Entry

“Deaconess.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on deaconess

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deaconess


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!