em·​is·​sary | \ ˈe-mə-ˌser-ē How to pronounce emissary (audio) , -ˌse-rē\
plural emissaries

Definition of emissary

1 : one designated as the agent of another : representative
2 : a secret agent

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Did You Know?

Like missionaries, emissaries are sent on missions. However, emissaries are more likely to be representing governments, political leaders, and nonreligious institutions, and an emissary's mission is usually to negotiate or to gather information. So a president may send a trusted emissary to a war-torn region to discuss peace terms. A company's CEO may send an emissary to check out another company that they may be thinking of buying. And a politician may send out an emissary to persuade a wealthy individual to become a supporter.

Examples of emissary in a Sentence

She acted as the president's personal emissary to the union leaders. most of the industrialized nations of the world sent emissaries to the conference on global warming

Recent Examples on the Web

Freeing prisoners from North Korea, in recent years, has largely required a high-level emissary of sorts. Z. Byron Wolf, CNN, "The recent history of American political prisoners released from Iran and North Korea," 9 May 2018 But moving into the White House would confer on him the official role of chief emissary of Trump's economic policies. Josh Boak, chicagotribune.com, "Trump picks camera-proven Kudlow as top economic aide," 14 Mar. 2018 The vice president has been one of the administration’s most visible emissaries during the shutdown fight, meeting with lawmakers, sitting for interviews and leading staff-level talks. Laurie Kellman, The Seattle Times, "Pence tested in role of messenger for Trump policies," 13 Jan. 2019 The same goes for Masayoshi Son, the SoftBank CEO who has struck a financial alliance with the Saudi business emissary, Mohammad bin Salman, through the SoftBank Vision Fund. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "If Silicon Valley investors cared about Saudi human rights abuses, they’d do more than snub a conference," 12 Oct. 2018 Acting as a sort of Silicon Valley emissary to the Wall Street crowd, Bill Gurley, general partner at venture capital firm Benchmark, also took the stage later in the afternoon. Jen Wieczner, Fortune, "Why a Top VC Would Buy Facebook Stock — But Not Tesla," 24 Apr. 2018 These sober emissaries seem oddly matched, at first, with two gregarious, rumpled (and rather clownishly drawn) economics professors dispatched by Rabin. Misha Berson, The Seattle Times, "At ACT Theatre, ‘Oslo’ finds crackling drama in back-channel negotiations," 23 Oct. 2018 And, of course, there was this year’s visit by Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s emissary to Silicon Valley, who was greeted with glitz and glam at America’s most prominent corporations. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "In the Tesla drama, Saudi Arabia reminds Silicon Valley of its weight," 13 Aug. 2018 In the context of the problems that Messi and his teammates are experiencing in Russia, the fact that some of Argentina’s coaching emissaries are also struggling will be seen as just one more excuse for national self-flagellation. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Made in Argentina, and Now Coaching Everywhere at the World Cup," 25 June 2018

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

1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for emissary

Latin emissarius, from emissus, past participle of emittere

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emission line

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Last Updated

10 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for emissary

The first known use of emissary was in 1607

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More Definitions for emissary



English Language Learners Definition of emissary

: a person who is sent on a mission to represent another person or organization


em·​is·​sary | \ ˈe-mə-ˌser-ē How to pronounce emissary (audio) \
plural emissaries

Kids Definition of emissary

: a person sent on a mission to represent someone else


em·​is·​sary | \ ˈe-mə-ˌser-ē How to pronounce emissary (audio) \
plural emissaries

Legal Definition of emissary

: a representative usually empowered to act more or less independently (as in collecting or conveying information or in negotiating)

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More from Merriam-Webster on emissary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with emissary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for emissary

Spanish Central: Translation of emissary

Nglish: Translation of emissary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of emissary for Arabic Speakers

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the range of authority or knowledge

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