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[mes-uh n-jer] /ˈmɛs ən dʒər/
a person who carries a message or goes on an errand for another, especially as a matter of duty or business.
a person employed to convey official dispatches or to go on other official or special errands:
a bank messenger.
  1. a rope or chain made into an endless belt to pull on an anchor cable or to drive machinery from some power source, as a capstan or winch.
  2. a light line by which a heavier line, as a hawser, can be pulled across a gap between a ship and a pier, a buoy, another ship, etc.
Oceanography. a brass weight sent down a line to actuate a Nansen bottle or other oceanographic instrument.
Archaic. a herald, forerunner, or harbinger.
verb (used with object)
to send by messenger.
Origin of messenger
1175-1225; Middle English messager, messangere < Anglo-French; Old French messagier. See message, -er2
1. bearer, courier. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for messenger
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • “If an angel be a messenger of God, I trow he is one,” said Tibble.

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
  • "For Miss Dennis," said the messenger; but she handed the card to Mrs. Roberts.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • A note came by a messenger who waited for no answer, as he told the yawning maid.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • The messenger, too, who lends himself to her humour now becomes a proper man.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • Sometimes when there was quarreling between the clans they would not receive a messenger.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
British Dictionary definitions for messenger


a person who takes messages from one person or group to another or others
a person who runs errands or is employed to run errands
a carrier of official dispatches; courier
  1. a light line used to haul in a heavy rope
  2. an endless belt of chain, rope, or cable, used on a powered winch to take off power
(archaic) a herald
Word Origin
C13: from Old French messagier, from message
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 messenger

c.1200, messager, from Old French messagier "messenger, envoy, ambassador," from message (see message (n.)). With parasitic -n- inserted by c.1300 for no apparent reason except that people liked to say it that way (cf. passenger, harbinger, scavenger).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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