missionary

noun
mis·sion·ary | \ ˈmi-shə-ˌner-ē \
plural missionaries

Definition of missionary 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a person undertaking a mission and especially a religious mission missionaries who strove to convert natives to Christianity

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

The couple then moved to Budapest to continue their missionary work, the website states. Deanna Boyd And Sarah Smith, star-telegram, "He quit in June. Now Southern Baptist leader is charged in teen's 1997 sexual assault," 9 July 2018 So their curriculums expanded to include not just religious studies to prepare students for evangelism or missionary work but also majors in liberal-arts fields. Naomi Schaefer Riley, WSJ, "‘Fundamentalist U’ Review: Believers in Higher Ed," 6 May 2018 Segura had worked as a teacher in El Salvador and left to do missionary work in the U.S. Nereida Moreno, chicagotribune.com, "Salvadorans and other ‘temporary’ immigrants weigh what’s next after the U.S. withdraws welcome mat," 8 Mar. 2018 The monarch extracted enormous amounts of wealth from what came to be known as the Congo Free State, and sent thousands of missionaries to explore and later brutally rule it. New York Times, "Belgium Honors Congolese Leader It Helped Overthrow," 30 June 2018 The Harvest’ unfolds in the basement of an evangelical church in Idaho, where a crew of fresh-faced missionaries prepare to leave for the Middle East. Kt Hawbaker, chicagotribune.com, "Griffin Theatre Company sets casting for "The Harvest," the closing show of its 30th season," 18 June 2018 Southwest was run by missionaries, unlike other schools that were run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. John D'anna, azcentral, "Think child separations are unprecedented? Here are 3 heartbreaking examples from history," 21 June 2018 Monday morning, a few hours after the ruling, celebratory balloons fluttered in the warm sun outside the building, and two men discussed missionary work while drinking coffee. Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY, "At Masterpiece Cakeshop, cheers and smiles for Jack Phillips after Supreme Court ruling," 4 June 2018 The Chinese government claims Sneddon -- an experienced traveler who had served as a missionary in South Korea -- plunged to his death while backpacking through Tiger Leaping Gorge and drowned. Alex Diaz, Fox News, "North Korea, Trump have more than nukes to discuss at historic sit-down, experts say," 4 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Not for the last time, the president allowed missionary fervor to supplant hardboiled diplomacy. Richard Norton Smith, WSJ, "‘The Moralist’ Review: The High and Rocky Road," 19 Apr. 2018 Many of these evangelicals take seriously the need to spread the gospel and so have funded many missionary causes around the world. Erick Erickson, Washington Post, "A word too far? Some evangelicals may have reached the breaking point with Trump.," 19 Jan. 2018 Violent Time Members of a Troy church who were a part of a missionary group have returned home safely after being stranded in Haiti, according to a Facebook post from the church. Deasia Paige, Detroit Free Press, "Stranded Troy Kensington Church mission members back from Haiti," 11 July 2018 Its members are very much out in the world — going to school, working, trying to attract new recruits through door-to-door missionary work — but their personal lives can revolve almost entirely around the organization. David Gambacorta, Philly.com, "Suspect in Jehovah's Witness child sex abuse case arrested," 24 May 2018 More: A week ago, Kensington Church sent two of its missionary groups to Haiti. Deasia Paige, Detroit Free Press, "Stranded Troy Kensington Church mission members back from Haiti," 11 July 2018 In 1884, a former monk left an archabbey in Germany’s upper Danube valley to start an independent congregation that combined the Benedictine way of life with missionary work. Emanuella Grinberg, Smithsonian, "When a Bavarian Monastery Provided a Home to Jewish Refugees," 11 July 2018 Throughout her long and full life, Elise was active in church, always involved in missionary endeavors, serving refreshments, and providing hospitality to itinerant preachers and foreign missionaries on furlough. Sun-Sentinel.com, "Deaths in South Florida: 6/27," 27 June 2018 The online posts alleged that Fang’s troops engaged in kidnappings for ransom and a military unit from Fang’s 10th Red Army was responsible for the 1934 kidnap and murder of an American Protestant missionary couple, John and Betty Stam. Chun Han Wong, WSJ, "China Guards Its Historical Heroes With New Law," 27 Apr. 2018

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

1625, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1644, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Phrases Related to missionary

missionary zeal

Statistics for missionary

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for missionary

The first known use of missionary was in 1625

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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 \
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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