mis·​sion | \ˈmi-shən \

Definition of mission 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1 obsolete : the act or an instance of sending

2a : a ministry commissioned by a religious organization to propagate (see propagate sense 3b) its faith or carry on humanitarian work organized a mission to the heathen natives

b : assignment to or work in a field of missionary enterprise

c(1) : a mission establishment

(2) : a local church or parish dependent on a larger religious organization for direction or financial support Spanish missions in California

d missions plural : organized missionary work

e : a course of sermons and services given to convert the unchurched or quicken Christian faith a preaching mission

3 : a body of persons sent to perform a service or carry on an activity: such as

a : a group sent to a foreign country to conduct diplomatic or political negotiations a member of a trade mission

b : a permanent embassy or legation

c : a team of specialists or cultural leaders sent to a foreign country served on a mission to improve agricultural methods

4a : a specific task with which a person or a group is charged Their mission was to help victims of the disaster.

b(1) : a definite military, naval, or aerospace task a bombing mission a space mission

(2) : a flight operation of an aircraft or spacecraft in the performance of a mission a mission to Mars

c : a preestablished and often self-imposed objective or purpose statement of the company's mission

5 : calling, vocation Her mission was to be a teacher.


missioned; missioning\ˈmi-​sh(ə-​)niŋ \

Definition of mission (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to send on or entrust with a mission

2 : to carry on a religious mission among or in



Definition of mission (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : of or relating to a style used in the early Spanish missions of the southwestern U.S. mission architecture

2 : of, relating to, or having the characteristic of a style of plain heavy usually oak furniture originating in the U.S. in the early part of the 20th century


geographical name
Mis·​sion | \ˈmi-shən \

Definition of Mission (Entry 4 of 4)

1 city near the Rio Grande in southern Texas population 77,058

2 municipality on the Fraser River in southwestern British Columbia, Canada population 36,426

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Did You Know?

Your own mission in life can be anything you pursue with almost religious enthusiasm. People with a mission—whether it's stopping drunk driving, keeping the town's public areas clean, increasing local recycling, or building a community center—very often succeed in really changing things.

Examples of mission in a Sentence


Our mission was to recover the stolen plans. By patient negotiation she succeeded in her mission of averting a strike. a mission to the moon a member of a trade mission
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That mission also will use a Falcon 9 rocket, but it is slated to lift off from Florida. Andy Pasztor, WSJ, "SpaceX Launches 19th Rocket in a Year, a Company Record," 3 Dec. 2018 Launched in September by the Amazon CEO and his wife MacKenzie, the fund’s dual mission is to provide aid for the homeless and to fund a network of nonprofit preschools. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Black Friday shoppers chose their screens over brick-and-mortar stores," 26 Nov. 2018 Since joining the royal family, she's continued that mission through a handful of speaking engagements and charity work—and most recently, a powerful speech about women's suffrage. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Meghan Markle Just Gave a Moving Speech About Women's Equality," 28 Oct. 2018 Discover Magazine's mission is to enable readers to lead richer lives by explaining and expanding their universe. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "Table of Contents Oct 2018," 28 Sep. 2018 In today’s rapid-fire digital age, where looks shown on the runway are widespread on Instagram before the final parade of models even concludes, CyFi’s mission to teach others about tech security and privacy is certainly relevant. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "How This Teenage Hacker Became an Unlikely Star of London Fashion Week," 16 Sep. 2018 But this latest mission is unique because engineers are creating blocks of material instead of injecting it directly onto the heat shield. Elizabeth Howell, Space.com, "NASA's Orion Spacecraft Gets Heat Shield for Daring Test Flight to the Moon," 21 Aug. 2018 Whether designer loose parts actually fulfill this mission is unclear. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "How not to cheat children: Let them build their own playgrounds," 18 July 2018 The Trump administration does not approach this mission lightly.’’ The officials said 46 of the children were not eligible to be reunited with their parents; a dozen parents had already been deported and were being contacted by the administration. Colleen Long, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump administration says 57 small children reunited with family, 46 deemed ineligible," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mission.' 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 mission


1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1692, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1900, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mission


New Latin, Medieval Latin, & Latin; New Latin mission-, missio religious mission, from Medieval Latin, task assigned, from Latin, act of sending, from mittere to send


see mission entry 1


see mission entry 1

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Statistics for mission

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mission

The first known use of mission was in 1530

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More Definitions for mission



English Language Learners Definition of mission

: a task or job that someone is given to do

: a specific military or naval task

: a flight by an aircraft or spacecraft to perform a specific task


mis·​sion | \ˈmi-shən \

Kids Definition of mission

1 : a task that is assigned or begun

2 : a task that is regarded as a very important duty She thinks of teaching as her mission.

3 : a group of missionaries

4 : a group of people sent by a government to represent it in a foreign country

5 : a place where the work of missionaries is carried on

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Comments on mission

What made you want to look up mission? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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