em·is·sary | \ˈe-mə-ˌser-ē, -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

In 2010, while the Pac-10 tried to swipe Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Colorado from the Big 12, Slive sent an emissary to gauge the Aggies’ interest. Andy Staples, SI.com, "Mike Slive’s SEC Accomplishments Were Only Part of a Life Filled With Victories," 16 May 2018 Mexican cocaine traffickers increasingly send emissaries to Colombia to secure shipments of a drug that has been booming, said Jerry McDermott, co-director of Insight Crime, which tracks Colombian drug gangs. Juan Forero And Kejal Vyas, WSJ, "Colombia Cocaine-Trafficking Probe Poses Risk to Peace Accord," 28 Apr. 2018 Some placating was definitely in order: the same emissaries sent to inform the Hungarian crown of their adorable new family member were also tasked with negotiating Joanna’s way out of certain clauses in her nuptial treaty. Anne Thériault, Longreads, "Queens of Infamy: Joanna of Naples," 3 July 2018 Created in conjunction with foremost tequila emissary Tomas Estes, Ocho is an artisanal tequila: each vintage produced from a single agave field with its own distinctive terroir, like wine. Mark Seal, WSJ, "The Tequila Gold Rush," 19 June 2018 Another was an emissary for two wealthy Arab princes [of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates]. Chuck Todd, NBC News, "Don't get distracted. The biggest weekend story was the other 2016 Trump Tower meeting.," 21 May 2018 Once again, Melania Trump has stepped onto the international stage in the traditional role of first lady: an emissary of the American people, a symbol of our collective humanity - and a fashion mannequin of soft diplomacy. Robin Givhan, Houston Chronicle, "Nothing else Melania Trump wears will ever matter again," 13 July 2018 But you get pressed by the couple or their emissaries. Michelle Singletary, BostonGlobe.com, "When you shouldn’t say ‘I do’ to being a wedding guest," 31 Mar. 2018 The North Korean backlash was so strong Trump canceled the summit, then later relented after a Kim emissary came to the White House with a letter extending good will. Fortune, "Trump and Kim Arrive in Singapore Ahead of Historic Summit," 10 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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Statistics for emissary

Last Updated

6 Oct 2018

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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 \
plural emissaries

Kids Definition of emissary

: a person sent on a mission to represent someone else


em·is·sary | \ˈe-mə-ˌser-ē \
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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