Definition of missionary in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmiSHəˌnerē/

noun (plural missionaries)

A person sent on a religious mission, especially one sent to promote Christianity in a foreign country.
Example sentences
  • Yet how many Christians today give even a tenth to support pastors, evangelists and missionaries?
  • During the seventeenth century, French Jesuit missionaries converted many of the Iroquois to Catholicism.
  • American Protestant missionaries arrived in Korea in the nineteenth century.
evangelist, apostle, proselytizer, preacher, minister, priest
historical black robe


Relating to or characteristic of a missionary or a religious mission: missionary work they have lost the missionary zeal they once had
More example sentences
  • For some there was religious missionary zeal in helping those who were less fortunate.
  • There is a direct connection between the presence of missionary zeal in members and their regular presence in worship.
  • Theorizing about biblical translation was often undertaken and emerged within the framework of missionary practice.


Mid 17th century: from modern Latin missionarius, from Latin missio (see mission).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mis·sion·ar·y

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