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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.
Origin of missionary
From the New Latin word missiōnārius, dating back to 1635-45. See mission, -ary
Related forms
nonmissionary, adjective, noun, plural nonmissionaries. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for missioner
Historical Examples
  • It was a small room, with a sapling partition between it and the one in which the missioner was to sleep.

    The Courage of Marge O'Doone James Oliver Curwood
  • It was designed and built by Robert Aitken the famous Cornish missioner.

    The Cornish Riviera Sidney Heath
  • And as he had done in the trail, so now Jolly Roger stood her away from him, and faced the missioner.

    The Country Beyond James Oliver Curwood
  • Puffin has been a missioner, and he is a wonderful organizer.

  • Tavish knew that the missioner would stop at his cabin on his return into the North.

    The Courage of Marge O'Doone James Oliver Curwood
  • And she's got faith in me, and would go with me to the missioner's tomorrow.

    The Country Beyond James Oliver Curwood
  • She at once inquired if she could be permitted an interview with the missioner.

    Hubert's Wife Minnie Mary Lee
  • "Nada, go to the missioner's as fast as you can," he said, fighting to speak coolly.

    The Country Beyond James Oliver Curwood
  • The missioner was as much at home here as he was at Silchester College or in a railway compartment full of bluejackets.

    The Altar Steps Compton MacKenzie
  • The missioner is alternately tempted to elation and despair.

British Dictionary definitions for missioner


a less common name for missionary
a person heading a parochial mission in a Christian country


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 missioner



1650s, from missionary (adj.). Missionary position attested by 1963, said to have been coined by Kinsey (1948), who identified its origin in work done by Polish anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski in Melanesia in the 1920s; allegedly from the term used by South Pacific peoples to describe what Christian missionaries promoted to replace their local variations. By late 1960s it became the general term for this type of sex, formerly also known as the English-American position.


"sent on a mission," 1640s, from Modern Latin missionarius "pertaining to a mission," from Latin missionem (see mission).



"sent on a mission," 1640s, from Modern Latin missionarius "pertaining to a mission," from Latin missionem (see mission).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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