minion

noun
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

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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

In story mode, Mario encounters many of his familiar enemies, but fire-breathing plants and Bowser’s turtle-like minions aren’t trying to steal one of Mario’s endless lives. Todd Martens, latimes.com, "'Mario Tennis Aces' and the love of low-stakes competition," 12 July 2018 Marciano came into his prime and popularity in the early 1950s when boxing, now both televised and controlled by mobster Frankie Carbo and his minions, hadn’t had a white champion since James Braddock in 1937. John Powers, BostonGlobe.com, "Pulling no punches on Rocky Marciano," 29 June 2018 Use a silver paint pen to draw on the minion’s goggles, let dry 8. Fox News, "Fun ways to decorate your Easter eggs," 1 Apr. 2018 The temperance movement is upturned by drinking songs and free beer passed out by the dandy minions. Mark Swed, latimes.com, "The brash, profane, funny, infuriating, high-flying first chapter of Taylor Mac's '24-Decade History'," 16 Mar. 2018 The model minority becomes a unique tool of supremacy—a minion, a humble servant, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Aditi Natasha Kini, The Root, "The Model Minority Is Not a Myth: It’s Ajit Pai," 19 Jan. 2018 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

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.

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First Known Use of minion

circa 1500, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for minion

Middle French mignon darling

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Statistics for minion

Last Updated

22 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for minion

The first known use of minion was circa 1500

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More Definitions for minion

minion

noun

English Language Learners Definition of minion

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

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