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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 missionary
  • It provides a sophisticated insight, one of many in the show, into the missionary experience.
  • The missionary was delighted by everyone's response to the gift.
  • Preparation day is when a missionary buys his groceries, washes his laundry, or even visits the beach.
  • Some were driven by martial spirit, missionary zeal or imperial fervour.
  • Whether their motives are missionary or mercenary, all are ultimately sucked into the vortex of an epic-and tragic-struggle.
  • Gilder embraces new technologies with the fervor of a missionary.
  • Some companies' statements have an almost missionary zeal.
  • But also many churches work abroad through missionary projects.
  • The neocons may have the missionary zeal, but even this is likely to pall in the face of setbacks.
  • Rural doctors also have to be a cross between a missionary and a cowboy.
British Dictionary definitions for missionary


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 missionary
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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