min·​is·​try | \ ˈmi-nə-strē \
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 HM Treasury is the economic and finance ministry for the British government. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Was Just Spotted at Lunch with Her New Communications Secretary," 21 Jan. 2019 The Japanese sector was mainly Kasumigaseki—that and the imperial palace, closed since the royal family had moved to the relative security of Sapporo—and Kasumigaseki was all ministries and government offices and the Diet. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Two unlikely cops are paired up to solve murders in a war-torn Tokyo in Ninth Step Station," 8 Dec. 2018 In Paris, protesters—some wearing reflective yellow vests, others not—used a forklift to break down the door of the ministry of the government spokesman, who was rushed out a back exit by security staff. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, "French Government Proposes Tighter Anti-Rioting Laws," 7 Jan. 2019 The French presidency said Macron asked Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to be temporarily in charge of the interior ministry until Collomb’s successor is appointed. Sylvie Corbet, The Seattle Times, "French interior minister quits in new blow to Macron," 2 Oct. 2018 Unlike Indian states, Delhi cannot run its own civil service: the city’s administrators are appointed, transferred or sacked at the whim of the (national) home ministry. The Economist, "India’s national government and the city of Delhi are feuding," 21 June 2018 In fact, in addition to his personality, Rogers' combined some very specific attributes — a sense of ministry and a child development background, as well as television experience — to create his successful program. Kenneth Turan,, "‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’: The documentary that shows how Mister Rogers made goodness desirable," 7 June 2018 Another concern is climate change, which is likely to increase food prices in the years ahead, said Majid Sultan Al Qassimi of the UAE's ministry of climate change and environment. Rabiya Jaffery, The Christian Science Monitor, "UAE tries vertical farming to produce food with little water," 10 May 2018 Gaza’s Health ministry said two teenagers were killed in the strike and 10 others injured. Aron Heller,, "Israel exchanges intense fire with Hamas militants in Gaza," 14 July 2018

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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Statistics for ministry

Last Updated

30 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for ministry

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

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More Definitions for ministry



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 \
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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