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[mish-uh-ner-ee] /ˈmɪʃ əˌnɛr i/
noun, plural missionaries. Also, missioner
a person sent by a church into an area to carry on evangelism or other activities, as educational or hospital work.
a person strongly in favor of a program, set of principles, etc., who attempts to persuade or convert others.
a person who is sent on a mission.
pertaining to or connected with religious missions.
engaged in such a mission, or devoted to work connected with missions.
reflecting or prompted by the desire to persuade or convert others:
the missionary efforts of political fanatics.
characteristic of a missionary.
1635-45; < Neo-Latin missiōnārius. See mission, -ary
Related forms
nonmissionary, adjective, noun, plural nonmissionaries. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for missionaries
  • If there's a missionary picture of us, too, there are a lot of people with negative views of missionaries.
  • For a time modernization suited hula little better than the missionaries had.
  • The former was a great protector and benefactor to these missionaries, nor did the latter oppose their preaching.
  • The missionaries whom he had dispersed before his departure, had spread the gospel on every side.
  • By means of missionaries and political tracts, the scheme was in a great measure successful.
  • It equipped missionaries with small airplanes and sent them winging south.
  • Sane-minded missionaries tell me of even more dramatic healings and deliverance from demons in third-world countries.
  • Some historians had derided the missionaries' reports of cannibalism as exaggerations.
  • And missionaries, while often well-intentioned, tried to stamp out native customs and beliefs.
  • According to some missionaries there are still many villages that have had no contact with the outside world in living memory.
British Dictionary definitions for missionaries


noun (pl) -aries
a member of a religious mission
of or relating to missionaries missionary work
resulting from a desire to convert people to one's own beliefs missionary zeal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for missionaries
1656, from mission (q.v.). Missionary position first attested 1969; allegedly so called because Christian missionaries forced it on "primitive" people to replace their more creative variations.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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