min·​is·​try | \ ˈmi-nə-strē How to pronounce ministry (audio) \
plural ministries

Definition of ministry

1 : ministration the ingenuity of destruction … had outrun the ministry of healing— Dixon Wecter
2 : the office, duties, or functions of a minister was well prepared for the ministry
3 : the body of ministers of religion : clergy joined the Presbyterian ministry
4 : a person or thing through which something is accomplished : agency, instrumentality heroic believers become such by the ministry of heroic pain— Austin Phelps
5 : the period of service or office of a minister or ministry Many reforms were enacted during his ministry.
6 often capitalized
a : the body of ministers governing a nation or state from which a smaller cabinet (see cabinet entry 1 sense 3b) is sometimes selected
b : the group of ministers constituting a cabinet
7a : a government department presided over by a minister the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
b : the building in which the business of a ministry is transacted

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Examples of ministry in a Sentence

a member of the ministry She learned a lot during her first year of ministry.
Recent Examples on the Web The customs administration will only allow these goods to be exported if they’re approved by China’s regulators, the ministry said. Andrea Dudik, Fortune, "Europe turned to China for coronavirus testing help. Why some are now regretting it," 1 Apr. 2020 And in Florida, one pastor is torn between his call to the ministry in a time of need and his desire to keep his parishioners safe. Diya Chacko, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: West Coast versus everywhere else," 31 Mar. 2020 Zimbabwe received a donation from the Jack Ma foundation that includes 200,000 test kits, 100,000 face masks and 10,000 protective suits for health workers, the health ministry said In a statement on Tuesday. Nyasha Chingono, CNN, "Zimbabwe doctors and nurses down tools over lack of protective coronavirus gear," 25 Mar. 2020 While not government-sanctioned, a similar service in Senegal operated by volunteers is sharing official information from the country’s health ministry via a chat-bot. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "African governments, Facebook and Twitter are fighting to dispel misinformation on coronavirus," 18 Mar. 2020 The country’s health ministry said Monday the virus killed another 43 people, pushing the death toll to 237 amid 7,161 confirmed cases., "Saudi Arabia, Israel tighten restrictions to counter virus," 9 Mar. 2020 The country’s health ministry said at least 58 people were wounded. Najim Rahim, New York Times, "Gunmen Kill Dozens at Event Attended by Afghan Politicians," 6 Mar. 2020 The two deceased passengers were an 87-year-old man and an 84-year-old woman, both Japanese, according to the Japanese health ministry. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Two passengers from coronavirus-stricken cruise ship die in Japan," 20 Feb. 2020 About 380 Americans were passengers on the Diamond Princess, and about 300 of them were supposed to leave Japan on Sunday, according to the country’s defense ministry. J.d. Morris,, "Coronavirus evacuees from cruise ship en route to Bay Area from Japan," 16 Feb. 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ministry

Middle English ministerie, minstri "personal service, religious office, position in a church," borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French ministere "service, duty," going back to Old French, borrowed from Latin ministerium "activity of a servant, duty, task, support" (Late Latin, "ecclesiastical service") from minister "servant, minister entry 1" + -ium, denominal suffix of occupations

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Time Traveler for ministry

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for ministry

Last Updated

9 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ministry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for ministry


How to pronounce ministry (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ministry

: religious leaders as a group : ministers as a group
: the office, duties, or work of a religious minister
: a government department or the building in which it is located


min·​is·​try | \ ˈmi-nə-strē How to pronounce ministry (audio) \
plural ministries

Kids Definition of ministry

1 : the office or duties of a religious minister
2 : a group of religious ministers : clergy
3 : a section of a government headed by a minister the ministry of transportation

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