min·​is·​ter | \ ˈmi-nə-stər How to pronounce minister (audio) \

Definition of minister

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : agent the angels are ministers of the divine will— H. P. Liddon
2a : one officiating or assisting the officiant in church worship
b : a clergyman or clergywoman especially of a Protestant communion
3a : the superior (see superior entry 2 sense 1) of one of several religious orders

called also minister-general

b : the assistant to the rector or the bursar of a Jesuit house
4 : a high officer of state entrusted with the management of a division of governmental activities the British Minister of Defence
5a : a diplomatic representative (such as an ambassador) accredited to the court (see court entry 1 sense 1c) or seat of government of a foreign state
b : a diplomatic representative ranking below an ambassador


ministered; ministering\ ˈmi-​nə-​st(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce minister (audio) \

Definition of minister (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to function as a minister of religion
2 : to give aid or service minister to the sick

Examples of minister in a Sentence

Noun the British ministers at the international peace conference our minister gives an interesting sermon every week
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Emerson entered Harvard at 14 on a scholarship, was ordained as minister of Boston’s Second Church and married at 26, widowed at 27, and famously resigned from the ministry at 29. Sarah Blackwood, The New Republic, 6 Jan. 2022 Karmon accused Katsav of rape during his term as tourism minister, and her key testimony led to his resignation in 2007. Elsa Keslassy, Variety, 28 Dec. 2021 Raised as a minister’s daughter in the West Texas city of Abilene, Weddington attended law school at the University of Texas. Time, 27 Dec. 2021 Raised as a minister’s daughter in the West Texas city of Abilene, Weddington attended law school at the University of Texas. oregonlive, 26 Dec. 2021 Ali Babacan, an opposition leader who served as finance minister under Mr. Erdogan, berated the president on Twitter for blaming some of the price rises on shopkeepers stockpiling goods. New York Times, 15 Dec. 2021 The first woman to serve as finance minister of a G7 nation, managing director of the IMF and now president of the European Central Bank. CNN, 15 Dec. 2021 Scholz served as vice-chancellor and finance minister in Merkel's government and has promised continuity and a steady hand as Europe's largest economy faces challenges ranging from the climate crisis to a more confrontational Russia. Harold Maass, The Week, 8 Dec. 2021 However, his Free Democrat counterpart Christian Lindner, who will serve as vice-chancellor and finance minister, may have other ideas, preferring to lower taxes and a more free-market approach. Steven E. Sokol, Fortune, 6 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some churches had to close when a priest died or retired, or were grouped together with other churches served by traveling priests who minister to multiple parishes. Fox News, 5 Jan. 2022 The group, all of which have signed multi-year commitments to minister in Haiti included 12 adults ranging in age from 18 to 48, and five children, ages 8 months (at the time of the incident), 3, 6, 13 and 15 years old. Amy L. Knapp, USA TODAY, 21 Dec. 2021 French armed forces minister Florence Parly said in September. Washington Post, 21 Dec. 2021 And now, my calling is primarily to minister at the Haven of Rest, Akron’s Christian city mission. Terry Pluto, cleveland, 6 Dec. 2021 For Greene, a member of Grace Apostolic since 1984, participation in the ecumenical choir is another opportunity to minister to someone who may be in need. Justin L. Mack, The Indianapolis Star, 4 July 2021 Borns returned to his South Dallas neighborhood and tried to minister to the homeless and downtrodden. Jennifer Emily, Dallas News, 13 May 2021 The Archdiocese claims that its constitutional rights are being violated by not being able to minister to prisoners seeking services. Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7 May 2021 Some are dramatic stories of recovery, starring nurses and first responders who minister to the victims, and starring those victims who manage to come back from the precipice. Melissa Fay Greene, The Atlantic, 6 Apr. 2021

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for minister


Middle English ministre "servant, ecclesiastic, priest, official serving a superior, agent," borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Medieval Latin minister "servant, ecclesiastic (short for Deī minister "servant of god"), agent, official," going back to Latin, "servant, priest's attendant, agent," formed from minor-, minus "less, lesser" (with the suffix of location and opposition -ter) after magister "manager, master entry 1" — more at minus entry 1


Middle English ministren, borrowed from Anglo-French ministrer, borrowed from Latin ministrāre "to act as a servant, serve, supply" (Late Latin, "to serve as an ecclesiastic"), derivative of minister "servant, minister entry 1"

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Time Traveler for minister

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The first known use of minister was in the 14th century

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minister's face

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Last Updated

18 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Minister.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for minister



English Language Learners Definition of minister

: a person whose job involves leading church services, performing religious ceremonies (such as marriages), and providing spiritual or religious guidance to other people : a member of the clergy in some Protestant churches
: an official who heads a government department or a major section of a department in some countries (such as Britain)
: a person who represents his or her own government while living in a foreign country


min·​is·​ter | \ ˈmi-nə-stər How to pronounce minister (audio) \

Kids Definition of minister

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person who performs religious ceremonies especially in Protestant church services
2 : a government official at the head of a section of government activities minister of education
3 : a person who represents his or her government in a foreign country


ministered; ministering

Kids Definition of minister (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give help or care minister to the sick

More from Merriam-Webster on minister

Nglish: Translation of minister for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of minister for Arabic Speakers


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