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 As part of that resumption, the U.S. slapped measures targeting Iran's defense ministry and others involved in its weapons and nuclear programs. NBC News, "U.S. to impose new sanctions on Iranian banks," 8 Oct. 2020 Reuters reports that South Korea's transport ministry and Hyundai have issued a recall of 25,564 Hyundai Kona Electric vehicles in that country built between September 2017 and March 2020. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Hyundai Kona Electric Recalled in South Korea and US over Potential Fire Danger," 8 Oct. 2020 The Polish culture ministry and the monuments conservator of the Katowice area contributed about $131,000 for the restoration project, which began this year. Cnaan Liphshiz,, "Obninsk, Russia, home of the world’s first nuclear power plant, gets its first synagogue," 7 Oct. 2020 South Korea’s foreign ministry and spy service declined to comment. Andrew Jeong, WSJ, "North Korean Defector Who Vanished in Rome Is Now in South Korea," 7 Oct. 2020 Qatar’s foreign ministry and embassies in Washington, Brussels, and Berlin did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment. Benjamin Weinthal, Fox News, "Is Qatar lying about its COVID-19 outbreak to avoid jeopardizing its hosting of the World Cup?," 4 Oct. 2020 The foreign ministry and the justice ministry did not respond to requests for comment. Reuters, CNN, "Family of 'Hotel Rwanda hero' urges US, EU and Belgium to help free him," 2 Oct. 2020 Venezuela’s information ministry and the U.S. State Department didn’t return an email seeking comment. Lucia Kassai,, "Venezuela and Iran Buck U.S. Sanctions Again to Export Crude," 22 Sep. 2020 Nearly all of them, however, including the Iranian defense ministry and its atomic energy agency, were already subject to U.S. sanctions that the administration had re-imposed after Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018. Star Tribune, "Alone among nations, US moves to restore UN Iran sanctions," 21 Sep. 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

14 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ministry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

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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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