min·​is·​try ˈmi-nə-strē How to pronounce ministry (audio)
plural ministries
: ministration
the ingenuity of destruction … had outrun the ministry of healingDixon Wecter
: the office, duties, or functions of a minister
was well prepared for the ministry
: the body of ministers of religion : clergy
joined the Presbyterian ministry
: a person or thing through which something is accomplished : agency, instrumentality
heroic believers become such by the ministry of heroic painAustin Phelps
: the period of service or office of a minister or ministry
Many reforms were enacted during his ministry.
often capitalized
: the body of ministers governing a nation or state from which a smaller cabinet (see cabinet entry 1 sense 3b) is sometimes selected
: the group of ministers constituting a cabinet
: a government department presided over by a minister
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
: the building in which the business of a ministry is transacted

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 During a visit to Seoul this month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his South Korean and Japanese counterparts agreed to share real-time data on North Korean missile launches starting in December, the South Korean defense ministry said. Stella Kim, NBC News, 22 Nov. 2023 In early 2021, the Indian government introduced a system of self-regulation in which streaming companies must resolve viewer complaints within 15 days, or else face regulatory scrutiny by an industry body or a government committee staffed by various ministries. Anant Gupta, Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2023 Palestinians in Gaza, whose dead number more than 12,000 according to the health ministry in Gaza, fear annihilation. Roger Cohen, New York Times, 20 Nov. 2023 According to Gaza’s health ministry, more than eleven thousand Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war. Joel Simon, The New Yorker, 16 Nov. 2023 The Covenant School is a private Christian school founded in 2001 as a ministry of Covenant Presbyterian Church and teaches preschool through 6th grade, according to its website. CNN, 13 Nov. 2023 The interior ministry said at least 182,000 people marched in several French cities in response to the call launched by the leaders of the parliament’s upper and lower houses. Sylvie Corbet and Barbara Surk, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 Nov. 2023 According to the Palestinian health ministry, at least 178 Palestinians have been killed since Hamas’s attack on Israel from Gaza on Oct. 7 as the Israel Defense Forces moved to minimize any further security threat from the West Bank. James Hookway, WSJ, 10 Nov. 2023 In the first month, some 10,000 people — around 40 percent of them children and teens — have been killed, according to the health ministry in Gaza, which is governed by Hamas. Adam Goldman, New York Times, 9 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ministry.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near ministry

Cite this Entry

“Ministry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


min·​is·​try ˈmin-ə-strē How to pronounce ministry (audio)
plural ministries
: the action of ministering
: the office, duties, or work of a minister
: the body of ministers governing a nation or state
: a government department headed by a minister
: the building in which a ministry is housed

More from Merriam-Webster on ministry

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