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 Indeed, for much of Jesus’s life and ministry sin and death seemed ascendant. David French, Time, "A Christmas Hymn for Our Troubled Time," 24 Dec. 2020 For Russ Gordon, being Santa Claus is a ministry and a way of life. Mary Colurso |, al, "Santas in Alabama need a little extra magic this year (and maybe a plexiglass shield)," 22 Dec. 2020 In South Africa, a new version that shows some similarities to the one identified in the U.K. is driving a second wave of infections across the country, according to the country’s health ministry and virologists. Jason Douglas, WSJ, "Countries Ban Travel From U.K. in Race to Block New Covid-19 Strain," 21 Dec. 2020 Discipleship, ministry and mission all happened in homes as families lived out their faith in Jesus in the midst of an unbelieving world. The Rev. Bill Thomas,, "Thomas: Instead of focusing what the Grinch has taken from us, let’s focus on what we can do | RELIGION COMMENTARY," 12 Dec. 2020 Whitney White, the groundbreaking aspects of Baldwin’s play were searingly realized: The story of a Harlem preacher — Black and female — navigating challenges to her faith, family and ministry, illuminated a timelessly riveting struggle. Washington Post, "Best theater of 2020: Sondheim’s birthday, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ Mary Neely, ‘The Amen Corner’ and more," 9 Dec. 2020 This post was updated on the day of publication with quotes from China’s foreign ministry and social media. Jane Li, Quartz, "Taiwan beat China to congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris," 8 Nov. 2020 India’s foreign ministry and the Adani Group didn’t immediately respond to requests seeking comments. Asantha Sirimanne,, "Billionaire Adani Set to Develop Sri Lanka’s Port Terminal," 3 Nov. 2020 Among them were televangelist Jerry Falwell, who founded the Moral Majority, and James Dobson, who founded Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian organization and ministry, in 1977. Shayna Freisleben, CBS News, "White evangelical support for Trump goes beyond his policies, supporters and historians say," 2 Nov. 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

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ministry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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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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