Definition of minister in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈminəstər/


1 (also minister of religion) A member of the clergy, especially in Protestant churches.
Example sentences
  • First we say that Justice Bleby incorrectly formulated the test for an intention to create legal relations in the context of a church and a minister of religion.
  • This is a most refreshing new look at the book of Ecclesiastes, by the minister of Ravesby Presbyterian Church, Sydney.
  • Dr. Gentry is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America.
clergyman, clergywoman, cleric, ecclesiastic, pastor, vicar, rector, priest, parson, deacon, father, man/woman of the cloth, man/woman of God, churchman, churchwoman;
curate, chaplain
informal reverend, padre, Holy Joe, sky pilot
1.1 (also minister general) The superior of some religious orders.
Example sentences
  • The act provided exemptions to men with certain disabilities, ministers of religious orders, theological students, and conscientious objectors.
2(In certain countries) a head of a government department: Britain’s defense minister
More example sentences
  • The decision not to send a message of support this year brought private criticism from ministers and backbench MSPs.
  • It seems to me that the way modern politics works, the Prime Minister of the day is very reliant on his ministers and backbench for policy support.
  • Usually when a minister's backbench committee opposes or has serious concerns about a plan, it triggers a rethink.
member of the government, cabinet minister, secretary of state, undersecretary
2.1A diplomatic agent, usually ranking below an ambassador, representing a state or sovereign in a foreign country.
Example sentences
  • Last week, Baroness Symons, a Foreign Office minister, announced that Ambassador Craig Murray would go back to Tashkent.
  • And since this purported sale was between two sovereign governments, the minister of foreign affairs would have to be involved.
  • Foreign Office minister Lord Triesman will represent the government at the ceremony in Khao Lak.
ambassador, chargé d'affaires, plenipotentiary, envoy, emissary, diplomat, consul, representative
archaic legate
3 archaic A person or thing used to achieve or convey something: the Angels are ministers of the Divine Will
More example sentences
  • For nature is the minister of the Divine will not an instrument obedient to the command of man.
  • Beelzebub is slowly entering the boys, and through the use of Jack as a minister of evil, delivering the boys to insanity and corruption.


[no object]
1 (minister to) Attend to the needs of (someone): her doctor was busy ministering to the injured
More example sentences
  • There may also be room for optional characters, like a Horse Doctor to minister to Old Ball, or a supernumerary mummer who will be called Patsie.
  • I spend a lot of time attending and ministering to others while no one particularly cares about my needs (emotionally or otherwise)
  • I can pretty much say that every continent I've heard from, from people that he's ministered to, people that don't know him.
1.1 [with object] archaic Provide (something necessary or helpful): the story was able to minister true consolation
More example sentences
  • They would have experience; and by that experience they would be able to minister consolation to those who were in any manner afflicted.
  • At cataclysmic events in the community (births, illnesses, deaths) the women were present to minister aid and comfort.
2Act as a minister of religion.
Example sentences
  • She introduces the narrator to Jerome Strozzi, an aging priest who ministers to society's throwaways.
  • As much as they might complain about some of their parishioners, parish priests ministered at some point to almost every person in France, particularly at key transitional moments in their lives.
  • Priests from religious orders and the diocesan priests both ministered in that part of Down.
tend to, care for, take care of, look after, nurse, treat, attend to, see to, administer to, help, assist
2.1 [with object] Administer (a sacrament).
Example sentences
  • Will you continue as faithful stewards of the mysteries of God, preaching the Gospel of Christ, and ministering his holy sacraments?
  • It is a thing plainly repugnant to the word of God and the custom of the primitive Church, to have public prayer in the Church, or to minister the sacraments in a tongue not understanded of the people.
  • But thirteen years have passed, and Augustine was now responsible for ministering the word and sacraments to his people.



Pronunciation: /-ˌSHip/
Example sentences
  • One does not understand why the Congress legislators were keen for ministerships if they could not satisfy the people's aspirations.
  • Ten per cent of all the ministerships in all the States should be reserved for beggars to improve their standard of living overnight!
  • So it is not unlikely that, once she consolidates her chief ministership, she is bound to practise her own personalised style of governance, baring her fangs wherever necessary.


Middle English (sense 1 of the noun and sense 3 of the noun): from Old French ministre (noun), ministrer (verb), from Latin minister 'servant', from minus 'less'.

Words that rhyme with minister

administer, maladminister, sinister

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: min·is·ter

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.