missionary

noun
mis·​sion·​ary | \ ˈmi-shə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce missionary (audio) \
plural missionaries

Definition of missionary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person undertaking a mission and especially a religious mission Several years ago, when I was working as a reporter based in Haiti, I came upon a group of older Christian missionaries in the mountains above Port-au-Prince … They were there to build a school alongside a Methodist church.— Jacob Kushner Hawaiian Pidgin English developed during the 1800s and early 1900s, when immigrant laborers from China, Portugal, and the Philippines arrived to work in the plantations; American missionaries also came around that time.— Alia Wong

missionary

adjective

Definition of missionary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : relating to, engaged in, or devoted to missions
2 : characteristic of a missionary

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Did you know?

Beginning around 1540, an order of Catholic priests known as the Jesuits began to send its members to many parts of the world to convert peoples who believed in other gods to Christianity. Wherever they went, the Catholic missionaries built central buildings for their religious work, and the buildings themselves became known as missions; many 17th-century missions in the American West and Southwest are now preserved as museums. Their foes, the Protestants, soon began sending out their own missionaries, and today Protestant missionaries are probably far more numerous.

Examples of missionary in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Archuleta has long been open about his religious faith, and spent two years as a missionary in Chile following his 2008 run on American Idol. Tyler Aquilina, EW.com, 12 June 2021 As a missionary, Stuck inevitably brought change to Alaska’s First Peoples. David James, Anchorage Daily News, 5 June 2021 Her strategy was to praise Frank without criticizing Whitman, to avoid antagonizing supporters of the missionary. Nicholas K. Geranios, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 June 2021 The school had been named after aviator Charles Lindbergh and medical missionary Albert Schweitzer. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 May 2021 Perhaps none was more famously sundered than that of Marcus Whitman, a Presbyterian missionary to the Pacific Northwest, who was dispatched by members of the Cayuse tribe. BostonGlobe.com, 20 May 2021 In March, a 21-year-old missionary drowned in his homeland of El Salvador, and a 48-year-old mission president in the Philippines died of an apparent heart attack. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 May 2021 In 1579, an African man arrived in Japan as the servant of an Italian Jesuit missionary named Alessandro Valignano. Halle Kiefer, Vulture, 27 Apr. 2021 At least 14 Karen villagers have been killed and 40 wounded, according to the Free Burma Rangers, a humanitarian group founded by David Eubanks, a Christian missionary and former U.S. Army Special Forces member. Los Angeles Times, 9 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The university was then under the control of Professors World Peace Academy, an affiliate of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, which has been assailed by critics as a missionary cult. BostonGlobe.com, 6 June 2021 But as Harden’s research lays out, the story was spun into a golden legend by the fabulist and fellow missionary Henry Spalding. Los Angeles Times, 22 Apr. 2021 The Walker Center For Ecumenical Exchange, originally founded in 1868 by Eliza Walker as a missionary home, cited the coronavirus’s impact in a brief statement Tuesday to the Globe. BostonGlobe.com, 3 June 2021 Twenty years after the massacre, fellow missionary Henry Spalding manufactured a false story about Whitman. Nicholas K. Geranios, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 June 2021 His father, Dirk Epperson, did his missionary service in Venezuela from 1998 to 2000. San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 May 2021 Elder Uchtdorf will be part of a global missionary training on June 26. David Noyce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 27 May 2021 The religious object is a remnant of early Jesuit missionary efforts in the Maryland colony. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 May 2021 Chuck and his missionary team, in those frantic moments, led children to the safety of the soccer pitch — a refuge of open space away from buildings. Erik Brady, USA TODAY, 7 May 2021

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

Noun

1623, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1644, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for missionary

Time Traveler

The first known use of missionary was in 1623

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Statistics for missionary

Last Updated

16 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Missionary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/missionary. Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for missionary

missionary

noun

English Language Learners Definition of missionary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who is sent to a foreign country to do religious work (such as to convince people to join a religion or to help people who are sick, poor, etc.)

missionary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of missionary (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to missionaries
: very enthusiastic and eager about doing a job or supporting a cause

missionary

noun
mis·​sion·​ary | \ ˈmi-shə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce missionary (audio) \
plural missionaries

Kids Definition of missionary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person sent to a place to spread a religious faith

missionary

adjective

Kids Definition of missionary (Entry 2 of 2)

: relating to efforts to gain new religious followers or to people sent to spread a religion a missionary society

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