min·​ion ˈmin-yən How to pronounce minion (audio)
: a servile dependent, follower, or underling
He's one of the boss's minions.
: one highly favored : idol
his great charity to the poor renders him the minion of the peopleJonas Hanway
: a subordinate (see subordinate entry 1 sense 1) or petty official
government minions

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The Origins of Minion

Minion comes from Middle French and is related to filet mignon. The two terms are connected by mignon, meaning "darling." The earliest uses of minion refer to someone who is a particular favorite of a sovereign or other important personage. Over time, however, the word developed a more derogatory sense referring to a person who is servile and unimportant.

Examples of minion in a Sentence

one of the boss's minions most of the top appointments went to the new governor's personal minions and political cronies
Recent Examples on the Web Expect lots of fantasy action violence, including fighting (pushing, shoving, kicking) in mech suits and/or with helmeted (thus, faceless) minions. Common Sense Media, Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2023 In another attraction called Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, guests can join Gru, his daughters and the minions in Gru’s villain laboratory. Kimberlee Speakman, Peoplemag, 20 July 2023 Last summer, Siwa dipped into her makeup palettes to transform into – a minion! Michelle Lee, Peoplemag, 1 June 2023 Through minion hormones, GnRH controls production of testosterone, estrogen and sperm, as well as ovulation. Jessica P. Hekman, Scientific American, 1 Sep. 2015 Thus, the two kids from Brooklyn have to team up with the Autobots to prevent Unicron and his minions the Terrorcons — including a particularly nasty one known as Scourge (Peter Dinklage) — from feasting on Earth and destroying the planet. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 5 June 2023 Further upgrades to Blight cause your minions to do 15% more damage to Blighted enemies and slow them. Brittany Vincent, Rolling Stone, 31 May 2023 Sarastro’s Masonic minions gather around a conference table in generic gray suits, Tamino heads off in pursuit of virtue wearing a white shirt and black pants, and Pamina does a lot of entreating in a frumpy white dress. Vulture, 23 May 2023 As this goes down, JJ and Kie stumble upon Pope and Cleo while going through town, but Singh's minions find them. Samantha Olson, Seventeen, 27 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'minion.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle French mignon darling

First Known Use

circa 1500, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of minion was circa 1500


Dictionary Entries Near minion

Cite this Entry

“Minion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


min·​ion ˈmin-yən How to pronounce minion (audio)
: a person who obediently serves or works for a usually powerful person or organization

More from Merriam-Webster on minion

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