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 Police told Greenland broadcaster KNR Monday that investigations of the defacement of the statue of Hans Egede, a Lutheran missionary who arrived on the vast island in 1721, were ongoing. Washington Post, "Greenland: Police arrest suspects in statue vandalism case," 23 June 2020 Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Ulysses S. Grant; national anthem lyricist Francis Scott Key; and Catholic missionary Junipero Serra. Emily Larsen, Washington Examiner, "Conservative frustration: In ‘cultural civil war,’ Trump and GOP on the sidelines," 23 June 2020 She was first portrayed in 1890 by Nancy Green, a Black woman born into slavery who became a storyteller, cook and missionary. cleveland, "Aunt Jemima brand finally admits racist origins, will change name and logo," 17 June 2020 The time in the community also breaks up the drudgery of being alone with a fellow missionary, said Cragun, a former church member who served a mission in Costa Rica. Time, "How Mormon Missionaries Are Proselytizing in the Wake of a Pandemic," 5 June 2020 The brothers remained confident in their decision to keep their dad, who spent more than four decades as a Christian missionary, at his Old Louisville nursing home rather than transferring him to a hospital. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky nursing home COVID-19 victim died with only a nurse by his side, family says," 13 Apr. 2020 For thousands of missionaries, the coronavirus pandemic has wrought logistical nightmares and disrupted one of the faith’s most cherished traditions. Washington Post, "Facing coronavirus travel bans, the Mormon church has chartered jets to bring thousands of missionaries home," 31 Mar. 2020 He was born in China to a British family who arrived as missionaries, stayed to run important schools, and were interned in a Japanese prisoner camp from 1941 to 1945. Maryn Mckenna, Wired, "How ProMED Crowdsourced the Arrival of Covid-19 and SARS," 23 Mar. 2020 The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod on Friday organized an online giving program designed to aid missionaries, church workers, and congregations who are losing money because of operation closures. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Coronavirus shutdowns place financial strain on churches," 22 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective According to the brand's website, Aunt Jemima was created and developed in the likeness of Nancy Green, who is described as a storyteller, cook, and missionary worker, in the late 1880s and 1890s. Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner, "Aunt Jemima syrup to rebrand with new name and packaging to avoid 'racial stereotype'," 17 June 2020 Their contacts in Haiti worked frantically to get the child's passport, visa and other paperwork approved, and to get her on a repatriation flight to the US with a missionary couple. Emma Reynolds, CNN, "Some families have been kept apart by coronavirus. These families are still waiting to meet," 14 June 2020 People can also fly skydivers, do pipeline patrol or banner towing, go into missionary aviation flying, or fly single-pilot cargo. Ashlea Halpern, Condé Nast Traveler, "6 Pilots on the Future of the Once-Glamorous Job," 10 June 2020 Ismaili missionary Hassan-i-Sabbah became the Nizaris leader. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "Was the medieval order of Assassins a real thing?," 1 June 2020 As prime minister for nearly a decade Mr Harper governed more in the missionary spirit of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher than with the moderation of past Conservative prime ministers. The Economist, "Cracked crown Canada’s Conservative contenders," 6 June 2020 But Nielson said the church never wavered in keeping the missionary program going. Time, "How Mormon Missionaries Are Proselytizing in the Wake of a Pandemic," 5 June 2020 During a charitable and missionary trip to the Dominican Republic in 2019, he was stricken with E. coli, a bacterial intestinal infection, that led to dramatic weight loss. Dallas News, "Rangers pitcher Kyle Gibson, Big League Impact raise nearly $1 million to help feed children impacted by coronavirus," 16 Apr. 2020 Renew by mail - for Alabama drivers out of state for military, employment, missionary work, under a physician’s care or other issues on a case-by-case basis. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "Driver License offices are closed in Alabama: What you can – and can’t – do," 3 Apr. 2020

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

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Missionary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/missionary. Accessed 4 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for missionary

missionary

noun
How to pronounce missionary (audio)

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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