[ uh-pos-uhl ]
See synonyms for apostle on Thesaurus.com
  1. any of the early followers of Jesus who carried the Christian message into the world:Not all of Jesus’ followers named in the New Testament are considered apostles, but Paul, Barnabas, and Mary Magdalene certainly meet the criteria.

  2. Sometimes Apostle . in the Bible, any of the original 12 disciples called by Jesus to preach the gospel: Simon Peter, the brothers James and John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas Iscariot.

  1. the first or the best-known Christian missionary in any region or country.St. Patrick and Palladius have both been dubbed “the apostle of Ireland.”

  2. Eastern Church. one of the 70 disciples of Jesus.

  3. the title of the highest ecclesiastical official in certain Protestant sects.

  4. one of the 12 administrative officials of the Mormon Church.

  5. a pioneer of any new system or cause, especially an early leader in a reform movement: He has emerged as an apostle of a new era of peace and national unity.

  6. a loyal supporter or follower: Our company’s apostles are motivated by the service they can render for the good of the organization.

  7. Nautical. a knighthead, especially one having its top projecting and used as a bitt or bollard.

Origin of apostle

First recorded before 950; Middle English apostle, apostol, apostul, from Old English apostol and Old French apostle, from Late Latin apostolus, from Greek apóstolos “ambassador, messenger,” literally, “one sent out,” noun derivative of apostéllein “to send off,” from apo- apo- + stéllein “to gather, make ready, send”; cf. epistle

Other words from apostle

  • a·pos·tle·hood, a·pos·tle·ship, noun

Words Nearby apostle

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use apostle in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for apostle


/ (əˈpɒsəl) /

  1. (often capital) one of the 12 disciples chosen by Christ to preach his gospel

  2. any prominent Christian missionary, esp one who first converts a nation or people

  1. an ardent early supporter of a cause, reform movement, etc

  2. Mormon Church a member of a council of twelve officials appointed to administer and preside over the Church

Origin of apostle

Old English apostol, from Church Latin apostolus, from Greek apostolos a messenger, from apostellein to send forth

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