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 mission (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 The new guidelines will also have an effect on school activities, mission trips and summer camps. Tatyana Turner, chicagotribune.com, 11 June 2021 Censky said there have been discussions at the public museum for years about the museum’s changing mission within the community and how to work with other museums in the future. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11 June 2021 Being mission-driven has helped Indiana Donor Network earn a sixth straight Top Workplaces nod. Michael Schroeder, The Indianapolis Star, 11 June 2021 For the next four weeks, the cicadas will fulfill their 17-year mission of mating in the trees to produce the next generation. CBS News, 10 June 2021 This extraordinary reality will complicate his mission to purge the trauma of the Donald Trump era and convince both foes and friends that the US is reclaiming its global leadership role for good. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 10 June 2021 Proceeds will go to the Ed Lally Foundation’s mindful mental health mission for a proactive approach to mental health and suicide prevention through accessible practices of meditation, mindfulness, authentic self-expression and community connection. baltimoresun.com, 10 June 2021 The third test flight will include three members of the Italian Air Force for a research mission. Eric Niiler, Wired, 10 June 2021 But the hobby soon began to take on a social mission, too. cleveland, 10 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Next, the stage will be refurbished as needed and shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the launch of the Artemis I mission. Julia Musto, Fox News, 19 Mar. 2021 The extra precision of the Gaia system will help mission controllers home in precisely on their targets. Joshua Sokol, Science | AAAS, 24 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Their conclusions, published in Science magazine and presented at the 52nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, were reached by using cross-mission data from the agency's Planetary Data System (PDS). Julia Musto, Fox News, 18 Mar. 2021 The Constellation ships are multi-mission ships that are capable of anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare (anti-ship and land attack), and anti-air warfare (anti-aircraft, anti-missile, and now anti-drone) missions. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 14 Jan. 2021 Travis Air Force Base ordered non-mission-essential personnel to evacuate. The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 Aug. 2020 Nearby Travis Air Force Base ordered non-mission essential personnel to evacuate, officials said. The Salt Lake Tribune, 20 Aug. 2020 Travis Air Force Base ordered non-mission essential personnel to evacuate, officials said. CBS News, 20 Aug. 2020 In 2019, South Korea requested to buy 12 MH-60R Seahawks, multi-mission helicopters used by the U.S. Navy to hunt submarines, destroy small surface ships with Hellfire anti-tank missiles, rescue downed aircrews, and ferry supplies between ships. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 13 Aug. 2020 Power is provided by a multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator, or MMRTG, that produces heat from the decay of 10.6 pounds of radioactive plutonium 238 dioxide. William Harwood, CBS News, 28 July 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

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mission.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mission. Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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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 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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