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

In Rio de Janeiro, the leader of a union representing employees of Brazil’s environment ministry said Thursday the government is weakening environmental legislation. Washington Post, "In Rio, protest in defense of the Amazon turns political," 6 Sep. 2019 His sons, Jesse (McBride), and Kelvin (Adam Devine), are part of the ministry, and, once again, the sexist family tradition keeps daughter Judy (Edi Patterson) out of the spotlight., "‘Succession’ and ‘The Righteous Gemstones’: How to make unlikable characters into great TV (and how not to)," 13 Aug. 2019 Jane was a member of New Presbyterian Church and part of the Evangelism Explosion ministry., "Deaths in South Florida: 8/11," 11 Aug. 2019 The French Environmental Authority, which is part of the country’s environment ministry, has ruled (pdf) that the plans need to be revisited in light of legislation the country passed earlier this year to set a target of net-zero emissions by 2050. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "Marseille’s airport expansion plan could become the first victim of climate legislation," 3 Aug. 2019 This year, nearly 50 million of Indonesians are facing drought conditions in 28 of the country’s 34 provinces, Dody Usodo Hargo Suseno, an official of the coordinating ministry for human development, told Reuters. Amy Gunia, Time, "Indonesia to Deploy Thousands of Security Personnel to Combat Haze-Causing Fires," 1 Aug. 2019 God’s Kitchen is part of the church’s ministry and thus financially supported by it. Lisa Gregory,, "God’s Kitchen provides ‘sense of community, of family, of love’ for Mount Airy residents," 29 July 2019 Mindful of the ministry’s oversight, Mr. Ko demurs on the subject of whether government officials should press Mr. Kim on human rights. Martin Kuz, The Christian Science Monitor, "In N. Korea nuclear talks, what about human rights?," 20 June 2019 The fund’s directors were appointed by Carrier, former director of campus ministry at the University and a frequent visitor to Perlitz and the Haitian orphanage. Edmund H. Mahony,, "Fairfield University, others liable for $60 million settlement ordered in Haiti orphanage abuse case," 6 June 2019

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

11 Sep 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 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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