min·​is·​te·​ri·​al | \ˌmi-nə-ˈstir-ē-əl \

Definition of ministerial 

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of a minister or the ministry

2a : being or having the characteristics of an act or duty prescribed by law as part of the duties of an administrative office

b : relating to or being an act done after ascertaining the existence of a specified state of facts in obedience to a legal order without exercise of personal judgment or discretion

3 : acting or active as an agent

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Other Words from ministerial

ministerially \-​ē-​ə-​lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for ministerial


clerical, clerkly, pastoral, priestly, sacerdotal


lay, nonclerical, secular, temporal

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Examples of ministerial in a Sentence

She holds a ministerial office. They function in a ministerial capacity in the embassy.

Recent Examples on the Web

The ministerial committee, headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, will report its final recommendations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Aijaz Hussain, The Seattle Times, "Indian mob lynches woman on rumors of child kidnapping," 23 July 2018 The 68-year-old Sharif remains banned from politics, but Friday’s verdict also disqualifies his daughter, who had emerged as a possible prime ministerial candidate. Aoun Sahi,, "Former Pakistani leader Nawaz Sharif sentenced to prison in corruption case that could tilt coming election," 6 July 2018 Photographer: Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images Mahathir applauds after he was elected the opposition's prime ministerial candidate during the four-party coalition Pact of Hope convention on Jan. 7, 2018., "Bloomberg," 14 May 2018 The Global Compact for Safety, Orderly and Regular Migration is not legally binding and is to be formally adopted at a ministerial meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, on Dec. 11-12. Fox News, "Over 190 countries agree on global compact on safe migration," 13 July 2018 His cabinet has a strong female presence with at least seven ministerial posts going to women. Maria Tadeo,, "Spain’s Prime Minister Taps Technocrat Nadia Calvino to Run Economic Policy," 5 June 2018 The departures of Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, and David Davis, the Brexit secretary, this week were only the noisiest revolution of a ministerial carousel that has been spinning since the end of last year (see chart). The Economist, "A quiet revolution in Theresa May’s cabinet," 12 July 2018 The end of the Korean War officially, while ministerial in its kind of layout is a big deal here in the region. Fox News, "Excitement builds in Singapore over historic meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un," 12 June 2018 Netanyahu's prime ministerial salary is NIS 48,800 ($12,500) a month, before taxes. Jewish Journal, "Bill to exempt Israeli prime ministers from certain taxes passes first reading," 26 June 2018

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

1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ministerial

borrowed from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Medieval Latin ministeriālis "serving in an office (manorial or ecclesiastical)," going back to Late Latin, "serving, performing a duty," from Latin ministerium "activity of a servant, ministry" + -ālis -al entry 1

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Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

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The first known use of ministerial was in 1561

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English Language Learners Definition of ministerial

: of or relating to a government minister


min·​is·​te·​ri·​al | \ˌmi-nə-ˈstir-ē-əl \

Legal Definition of ministerial 

1 : being or having the characteristics of an act or duty prescribed by law as part of the duties of an administrative office

2 : relating to or being an act done after ascertaining the existence of a specified state of facts in obedience to legal and especially statutory mandate without exercise of personal judgment or discretion — see also mandamus — compare discretionary

3 : relating to a minister or ministry

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having a pattern of small flowers

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