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

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 Wright’s predecessor, Matt Hancock, was on the verge of clearing the Fox-Sky deal before being moved to run Britain’s health ministry. Bloomberg,, "British government to announce Fox-Sky deal decision by Thursday," 10 July 2018 None of those vaccinated became ill, the Congolese health ministry said. New York Times, "Ebola Outbreak in Central Africa Is ‘Largely Contained’," 28 June 2018 DRC’s health ministry says there have been 38 cases in this outbreak, with13 deaths. NBC News, "Winning hearts and minds in the newest Ebola zone," 9 June 2018 At least 15 people have been hospitalized, including 12 children -- some of whom suffered severe burns, the nation's health ministry said. Madison Park, Holly Yan And Flora Charner, CNN, "Entire families buried as Guatemalans battle to recover the dead after volcano eruption," 5 June 2018 The death happened in Iboko, a rural area in northwestern Equateur province, the health ministry said in a statement. Time, "Ebola Death Toll Reaches 12 in Congo," 27 May 2018 Four new cases have been confirmed as Ebola, said the health ministry in a statement released early Sunday. Saleh Mwanamilongo, USA TODAY, "Congo to begin vaccinating against Ebola on Monday," 20 May 2018 The Palestinian health ministry said a teenage boy died Saturday after he was shot in the head by Israeli fire on the Gaza-Israel border., "Israel bombs Gaza tunnel, closes key crossing amid weekly mass protests," 12 May 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

2 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

the 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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a person who helps groups work together

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