mis·​sion | \ ˈmi-shən How to pronounce mission (audio) \

Definition of mission

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : 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
2 : calling, vocation Her mission was to be a teacher.
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 ministry commissioned by a religious organization to propagate (see propagate sense 3b) its faith or carry on humanitarian work … there was a little port called Quinchang, where the fathers of the mission usually landed from Macao, on their progress to teach the Christian religion to the Chinese …— Daniel Defoe
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
5 obsolete : the act or an instance of sending


missioned; missioning\ ˈmi-​sh(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce missioning (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Mission (audio) \

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

Noun 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 Harper says the program’s core mission of inspiring students, especially actors, to feel more secure with and enjoy dance remains the same. Laura Latzko, The Arizona Republic, "Learn to dance, get crafty: 3 Arizona arts groups have a summer's worth of family fun online," 3 July 2020 In the midst of the Great Recession, Congress and the President came together to create an agency with an important mission. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Elena Kagan’s Fiery Defense of the Administrative State," 2 July 2020 Family archives show that, after the mission era, their ancestors in the Bay Area’s urban centers would take to the hills to avoid diseases like the Spanish flu, tuberculosis and measles. Soleil Ho, SFChronicle.com, "Berkeley’s Cafe Ohlone is gone, long live Cafe Ohlone," 2 July 2020 The band’s stated mission is to provide a high-quality and challenging musical experience for members and education and entertainment for Richardson and the region. Teri Webster, Dallas News, "Richardson Community Band taking July 4th concert online," 29 June 2020 In January, the Honduran government did not extend the mission’s mandate. Washington Post, "Honduras’ new penal code lightens sentences for corruption," 25 June 2020 With a budget of $1bn, twice that of the national government, the UN mission’s 12,000-odd soldiers and 2,000 police operate across a territory the size of France and Belgium combined. The Economist, "Global firefighting The UN has too much on its plate," 18 June 2020 Printing the poster is in line with La Printeria’s mission, Mireles said. Deborah Martin, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio artists and performers are responding to Black Lives Matter protests," 17 June 2020 The group’s mission is to reach out to Republican voters in the key general election battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina and Florida. Fox News, "Former Bush, Trump administration officials form pro-Biden super PAC," 17 June 2020

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 5


1692, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1900, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mission

Noun, Verb, and Adjective

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

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Time Traveler for mission

Time Traveler

The first known use of mission was in 1530

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Statistics for mission

Last Updated

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mission.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mission. Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for mission


How to pronounce Mission (audio)

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 How to pronounce mission (audio) \

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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