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 discipleship (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 Not all of Belichick’s disciples have had NFL coaching success. Scott Patsko, cleveland, "How shaking the Bill Belichick coaching tree has worked for the Cleveland Browns and others," 10 Jan. 2020 There was a similar case of a good coach going temporarily stale and an organization deciding to fumigate out of desperation (before ultimately hiring one of Reid’s disciples to lead them to a Super Bowl after the Chip Kelly era). Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "NFL experts (including former Packers receiver James Jones) analyze Mike McCarthy's hire by the Dallas Cowboys," 7 Jan. 2020 Other topics of discussion include collaboration with local churches, encounters with Jesus, and the roles of missionary disciples. Amanda Blanco, courant.com, "Archdiocese of Hartford will hold third synod in 175 year history to discuss past sex abuse and the church’s future," 24 Oct. 2019 Today, the children and grandchildren of these early Gandhi disciples continue to lead their family businesses as some of not only India’s but the world’s most recognised conglomerates. Sudev Sheth, Quartz India, "What Gandhi would’ve thought of today’s self-driving cars and e-commerce," 1 Oct. 2019 The cast functioned wonderfully as an ensemble, blending together to form one group of disciples. Brooke Coughlan, Cincinnati.com, "Cappies reviews for 'Godspell' by Roger Bacon High School," 22 July 2019 The musical follows the final days in the life as Jesus as seen through the eyes of his disciple Judas. Greg Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit's Top 10: Ann Arbor folk fest, Dustin Lynch, Soup Bowl in Royal Oak, 'Jesus Christ Superstar'," 29 Jan. 2020 All these facts and tips—my running education—come from the Nike Run Club app’s Audio Guided Runs, a series created by Nike’s head running coach Chris Bennett, better known to his disciples as simply Coach Bennett. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Thinking About the Next Marathon? This Virtual Coach Will Help You Train," 21 Nov. 2019 Here is an advance in the Seattle Times that notes the game matches Petersen and Smith, his disciple. oregonlive, "The OSU Beavers look to climb above .500 by beating Washington tonight: Issues & Answers," 8 Nov. 2019

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

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

25 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disciple.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disciple. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for disciple


How to pronounce disciple (audio)

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


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

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