foreign service


Definition of foreign service

: the field force of a foreign office comprising diplomatic and consular personnel

Examples of foreign service in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Moore came into office after spending years as a foreign service officer in Asia and as a management adviser at the Cicero consulting firm in Salt Lake City. Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Millennial caucus is co-led by Utah’s Blake Moore, who may or may not be a millennial," 26 Apr. 2021 Over a 35-year career in the foreign service, Thomas-Greenfield, who is Black, has held numerous diplomatic posts around the world – from Kenya to Pakistan. Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY, "'After Trump, the UN needs some extra love': Linda Thomas-Greenfield confirmed as UN ambassador," 23 Feb. 2021 Whites make up around 87% of the most senior ranks of the foreign service. Nicole Gaouette, CNN, "Blinken names chief diversity officer to lead change on a 'problem as old as the department itself'," 12 Apr. 2021 Thomas-Greenfield is a strong advocate for greater diversity in the foreign service, often seen as a club for white men, and for rebuilding an agency depleted under President Trump. Los Angeles Times, "Who are President Biden’s Cabinet members and nominees?," 8 Mar. 2021 Bárcena, 63, retired this month after 42 years in Mexico’s foreign service, the last two of which were the most unusual. Washington Post, "For Mexican ambassador who survived Trump, Washington was last stop," 21 Feb. 2021 Gillcrist's father, a former foreign service officer, is a federal fugitive. Lauren M. Johnson, CNN, "A search for biological relatives leads an adopted woman to the FBI's most wanted list," 8 Mar. 2021 He was greeted by employees eager to hear that diplomacy has returned to the top of the presidential agenda and that the expertise of long-serving foreign service officers will be valued. Aamer Madhani, Star Tribune, "Biden strikes tough tone on Russia in diplomatic push," 4 Feb. 2021 Thomas-Greenfield, a retired 35-year veteran of the foreign service who resigned during the Trump administration, will be the third African-American and second African-American woman to hold the job. Matthew Lee,, "Senate confirms Linda Thomas-Greenfield as UN ambassador," 23 Feb. 2021

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

See More

First Known Use of foreign service

1870, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about foreign service

Time Traveler for foreign service

Time Traveler

The first known use of foreign service was in 1870

See more words from the same year

Statistics for foreign service

Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Foreign service.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on foreign service Encyclopedia article about foreign service

Comments on foreign service

What made you want to look up foreign service? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!