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 ministering (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

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Examples of minister in a Sentence


the British ministers at the international peace conference our minister gives an interesting sermon every week

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as the country's defense minister, said Israel was now watching to see what Hezbollah does next. Andrew Carey, CNN, "Israel and Hezbollah exchange border fire for first time in years," 1 Sep. 2019 Mr Jaitley’s signature achievement as finance minister may bear part of the blame. The Economist, "India’s government is scrambling to revive the economy," 31 Aug. 2019 As health minister Maria Luisa Carcedo explained to reporters Wednesday, staff accidentally put minoxidil—the active ingredient in Rogaine—into containers marked as the heartburn treatment omeprazole. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Medication Mix-Up Leaves 17 Children Suffering From ‘Werewolf Syndrome’," 31 Aug. 2019 The production is also looking for men and women of various races and ages to play: an aunt, boyfriend, sheriff’s deputy, gun store owner, minister, motel clerk, store owner, trooper, waitress and bartender., "Liam Neeson action film ‘The Minuteman’ to shoot in Cleveland, needs actors," 28 Aug. 2019 In February, Bolsonaro's environment minister, Ricardo Salles, dismissed 21 of IBAMA’s 27 state superintendents. Felipe Fittipaldi, National Geographic, "Inside the faltering fight against illegal Amazon logging," 28 Aug. 2019 The image went viral almost immediately: Jesús Orta Martínez, Mexico City’s security minister, shrouded in a sparkling shock of hot-pink glitter, his irritation barely concealed. Lauren Cocking, Teen Vogue, "The History of Using Glitter As a Symbol of Protest," 28 Aug. 2019 At the time, Drew worked for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati as a music minister at St. Jude and as a music teacher at Elder High School. Dan Horn,, "Bond set at $5 million for Cincinnati priest accused of raping altar boy," 21 Aug. 2019 In a series of firsts, women were appointed as deputy education minister in 2009, advisers to the king in 2010 and ambassador to the United States in 2019. Alainna Liloia, The Conversation, "Saudi women are fighting for their freedom – and their hard-won victories are growing," 8 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In 1984 or 1985, Obst’s friend, the producer Howard Rosenman, invited her to a church in Los Angeles to see a speaker who had begun ministering to the gay men of West Hollywood in the early years of the AIDS epidemic. Emily Witt, The New Yorker, "Marianne Williamson Wants Politics to Enter the New Age," 14 Aug. 2019 In her lifetime Shirley ministered in 41 different nations throughout the world, both as a teacher and an intercessor., "Deaths in Central Florida: 8/7," 7 Aug. 2019 The scenes in the two cities were quite similar: pastors from Nigeria or Congo ministered to economic migrants from their native countries, offering a connection with home in a familiar style. Erasmus, The Economist, "Why charismatic Christianity is popular with migrants," 3 Aug. 2019 Hart, who ministers to churches in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, knew the procession was a terrible sign. Jim Morrison, Washington Post, "Virginia Beach vigil sends a message of ‘unity’," 6 June 2019 The group began as lay Franciscan woman and men who came from Bavaria in 1849 with plans to minister to German immigrants in North America. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Take a look inside the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi's new convent," 4 June 2019 Coco Gauff of Florida may be younger than some of the ball kids ministering to her. Jon Wertheim,, "Wimbledon Midterm Grades: Gauff, Serena, Big Three Get Top Marks From Week One," 6 July 2019 An order of Catholic priests, the Jesuits will continue to sponsor the school and send their members to minister at Brebeuf. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "Brebeuf Jesuit is no longer part of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. What that means for the school.," 21 June 2019 Depicting an angel ministering to an individual in need, the scene is the only surviving element of the original 20th-century structure. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Long-Forgotten Monument to Prison Reformer Will Be Reinstalled in New York Courthouse," 17 June 2019

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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Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on minister

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for minister

Spanish Central: Translation of minister

Nglish: Translation of minister for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of minister for Arabic Speakers

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