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

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 Conceição charts the settlers’ destabilized status in the country through the growing peril faced by a white female missionary, eventually evicted from her home by Black revolutionaries, though the film’s perspective remains aloof and impartial. Guy Lodge, Variety, 9 Aug. 2022 Later that same year, in the U.S., the pope canonized St. Junípero Serra, an 18th-century missionary in California who critics say oppressed indigenous people there. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, 26 July 2022 The 43-year-old former missionary applauded the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade, which allows states to ban abortions. Ryan Gillespie, Orlando Sentinel, 26 July 2022 Rosmarie worked for five years as a missionary and teacher in Papua New Guinea with her sister Maria, her relatives said. Lisa Rathke, USA TODAY, 20 May 2022 Rosmarie worked for five years as a missionary and teacher in Papua, New Guinea with her sister Maria, her relatives said. Lisa Rathke, ajc, 19 May 2022 Rosmarie worked for five years as a missionary and teacher in Papua New Guinea with her sister Maria, her relatives said. Lisa Rathke, Chicago Tribune, 19 May 2022 Hall, 40, is a father of five who attended Bible college and volunteered as a missionary in Kenya, Uganda and Jamaica. Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2022 Suellen has strong ties to the New Orleans area having served here for many years prior to her work as a missionary, according to the archdiocese of New Orleans. Bynadine El-bawab, ABC News, 6 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Southern Baptists raise money in her memory each Christmas to fund missionary work. al, 23 May 2022 Hunt spent much of his childhood in Taiwan as the son of missionary parents, according to The New York Times. Paul Gattis | Pgattis@al.com, al, 28 June 2022 Boer was born and raised in Jos, Nigeria, to Christian Reformed missionary parents. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, 28 Mar. 2022 In 2010, a Nairobi missionary group assisted Cheserek in receiving a scholarship to Saint Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, N.J. Don Norcross, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 May 2022 Though not mandatory, a stint of missionary service is common among young Mormons, with men and (to a lesser extent) women mostly between 18 and 21 sent to LDS outposts around the world for evangelical work by the thousands each year. Dennis Harvey, Variety, 24 Jan. 2022 Michael has loved his missionary service and loves the people of Alabama. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 14 Dec. 2021 Nearly three-quarters of Canada’s 130 residential schools were run by Catholic missionary congregations. Nicole Winfield, ajc, 1 Apr. 2022 Nearly three-quarters of the 130 residential schools were run by Catholic missionary congregations. NBC News, 1 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near missionary

Mission

missionary

missionary apostolic

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Statistics for missionary

Last Updated

15 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Missionary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/missionary. Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for missionary

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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