min·ion | \ ˈmin-yən \

Definition of minion 

1 : a servile dependent, follower, or underling He's one of the boss's minions.

2 : one highly favored : idol his great charity to the poor renders him the minion of the people —Jonas Hanway

3 : a subordinate (see subordinate entry 1 sense 1) or petty official government minions

Keep scrolling for more

The Origins of Minion

Minion comes to us from Middle French and has a somewhat surprising cousin in English: filet mignon. The two words are connected by way of Middle French mignon, meaning "darling." Minion entered English around 1500 directly from Middle French, whereas filet mignon arrived significantly later by way of a Modern French phrase meaning "dainty fillet." The earliest uses of minion referred to someone who was a particular favorite, or darling, of a sovereign or other important personage. Over time, however, the word evolved 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

Trump has made Twitter bullying commonplace among his minions. Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root, "Trump Wants the Nobel Peace Prize, and With His Latest Moves, the Deplorable in Chief Just Might Win," 10 May 2018 The agent and lawyer were called out on Twitter by Mr. Trump on Saturday as being minions of former FBI Director James Comey, who was also rebuked by the inspector general for not following Justice Department policies. Del Quentin Wilber, WSJ, "FBI’s Peter Strzok Agrees to Appear Before Lawmakers," 17 June 2018 More amusing than their masters are the maids and serving men: Richard Eisloeffel as Valentine's snarky servant, Speed; Stephanie Mattos as Proteus's hilarious help, Launce; and Shanna Sweeney as Julia's mordant minion, Lucetta. Irene Hsiao, Chicago Reader, "Two Gentlemen of Verona," 13 July 2018 Mr Prigozhin and his minions seemed to revel in the work around America’s presidential election, which involved travelling to America for research and hiring unwitting Americans to do their bidding. The Economist, "The Mueller investigationPutin’s chef cooks up a storm," 17 Feb. 2018 Similarly, wights are recently-deceased corpses that have been reanimated to serve as minions to the White Walkers and are incredibly susceptible to both dragonglass and fire. Chanel Vargas, Harper's BAZAAR, "Dragonglass Might Not Be Able to Kill the Night King, According to This Fan Theory," 9 Aug. 2017 Also joining the two Emmas, Dan Stevens, and Luke Evans are Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle's father and madcap inventor, and Josh Gad as Gaston's minion Le Fou. Chelsea Peng, Marie Claire, "Here's Your First Look at the 'Beauty and the Beast' Set," 31 July 2015 The team's manager from 1970 through '78, Sparky Anderson, was a revered figure whose decisions went largely unquestioned by his minions. Jon Wertheim,, "Johnny Bench Is Already a Hall-of-Famer, But He's Looking For a New Distinction," 5 July 2018 That is the truest manifestation of the American spirit, and it’s been subverted in this century by a powermad strongman and his idiot minions who think crushing the poor and the vulnerable is some kind of punk move. Drew Magary, GQ, "There Is Bravery in Each Other," 3 July 2018

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

circa 1500, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for minion

Middle French mignon darling

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about minion

Listen to Our Podcast about minion

Statistics for minion

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for minion

The first known use of minion was circa 1500

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for minion



English Language Learners Definition of minion

: someone who is not powerful or important and who obeys the orders of a powerful leader or boss

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on minion

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


the setting in which something occurs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!