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

Rhodes enters Kentucky eighth in the points standings, but is on a special mission this week. Jason Hoffman, Cincinnati.com, "At Kentucky Speedway, NCWTS Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 drivers hope home cooking pays off," 12 July 2018 In this go-round, Lang is balancing parenting and superhero duties when he’s sent on a new mission by van Dyne and Hank Pym, played by Michael Douglas. Fortune, "'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Swarms Theaters With $76 Million Opening Weekend," 8 July 2018 And the Juice Bar is on a mission to help folks be able to afford to eat better, Mouzon and Amoah said. Kevin Riordan, Philly.com, "Young entrepreneurs are energizing Merchantville," 30 June 2018 The goal of the research is to eventually help astronauts in long-term space missions and be applied to hospitals and social care situations on Earth. Marco Santana, OrlandoSentinel.com, "R2D2-like robot going to space from Florida on SpaceX rocket," 27 June 2018 Chefs Leo Spizzirri and Anthony Iannone are on a mission to make the western suburbs an international destination to learn the secrets of crafting pizza based on the principles of the Italian masters. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "Chefs on a mission to make Lisle 'the mecca of the pizza world' with new academy," 23 June 2018 In Revenge, a stranger named Emily Thorne moves into a mansion in the Hamptons to pursue her mission: destroy everyone who wronged her father as a child. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "9 Netflix Shows You'll Love if You're Obsessed With "Pretty Little Liars"," 18 June 2018 The target of Thursday’s mission in Paktia province was not immediately clear. Thomas Gibbons-neff, New York Times, "American Soldier Is Killed in Afghanistan, the 2nd This Week," 12 July 2018 Accountability to the community Like many reporters at small-town papers, Dreger’s team works hard and is driven mainly by a sense of mission and a desire to make their community stronger. Christa Case Bryant, The Christian Science Monitor, "As local news outlets struggle to survive, citizen-led efforts are stepping up," 10 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

14 Oct 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

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