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

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 Each of the priests served as transitional deacons for the last year and their ministry included baptizing, assisting at marriages and preaching at Mass, the release states. Quinlan Bentley, The Enquirer, 22 May 2022 One of his first moves—even before the Ukraine invasion—was to replace the entire top echelon of his ministry, including most of its 11 director-generals. Bojan Pancevski, WSJ, 17 May 2022 But Finland has since suspended its funding, according to diplomats and a statement from its foreign ministry. New York Times, 7 May 2022 While the latest volley between Russia and Israel is definitely putting a strain on the relationship, analysts note that so far most of Israel's ire has focused on Lavrov and his foreign ministry, and not Putin. Hadas Gold, CNN, 4 May 2022 The fundraiser benefits First Church, its ministry and missions. Hartford Courant, 29 Apr. 2022 Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht made the announcement at the U.S.-hosted meeting on arming Ukraine at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, according to the text of her remarks Tuesday provided by her ministry. NBC News, 26 Apr. 2022 Its defense ministry said the first contract will focus on fixing T-64 Soviet-era tanks. Fox News, 25 Apr. 2022 Bordans had said his ministry would study the issue. Aaron Eglitis,, 1 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ministry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for ministry


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

More from Merriam-Webster on ministry

Nglish: Translation of ministry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ministry for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ministry


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