[mish-uh n]
  1. a group or committee of persons sent to a foreign country to conduct negotiations, establish relations, provide scientific and technical assistance, or the like.
  2. the business with which such a group is charged.
  3. any important task or duty that is assigned, allotted, or self-imposed: Our mission is to find the child a safe home.
  4. an important goal or purpose that is accompanied by strong conviction; a calling or vocation: She has finally found her mission in life.
  5. a sending or being sent for some duty or purpose.
  6. those sent.
  7. Also called foreign mission. a permanent diplomatic establishment abroad; embassy; legation.
  8. Military. an operational task, usually assigned by a higher headquarters: a mission to bomb the bridge.
  9. Aerospace. an operation designed to carry out the goals of a specific program: a space mission.
  10. Also called foreign mission. a group of persons sent by a church to carry on religious work, especially evangelization in foreign lands, and often to establish schools, hospitals, etc.
  11. an establishment of missionaries in a foreign land; a missionary church or station.
  12. a similar establishment in any region.
  13. the district assigned to a missionary.
  14. missionary duty or work.
  15. an organization for carrying on missionary work.
  16. Also called rescue mission. a shelter operated by a church or other organization offering food, lodging, and other assistance to needy persons.
  17. missions, organized missionary work or activities in any country or region.
  18. a church or a region dependent on a larger church or denomination.
  19. a series of special religious services for increasing religious devotion and converting unbelievers: to preach a mission.
  1. of or relating to a mission.
  2. (usually initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a style of American furniture of the early 20th century, created in supposed imitation of the furnishings of the Spanish missions of California and characterized by the use of dark, stained wood, by heaviness, and by extreme plainness.

Origin of mission

1590–1600; 1925–30 for def 8; < Latin missiōn- (stem of missiō) a sending off, equivalent to miss(us) (past participle of mittere to send) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsmis·sion·al, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for missional


  1. a specific task or duty assigned to a person or group of peopletheir mission was to irrigate the desert
  2. a person's vocation (often in the phrase mission in life)
  3. a group of persons representing or working for a particular country, business, etc, in a foreign country
    1. a special embassy sent to a foreign country for a specific purpose
    2. USa permanent legation
    1. a group of people sent by a religious body, esp a Christian church, to a foreign country to do religious and social work
    2. the campaign undertaken by such a group
    1. the work or calling of a missionary
    2. a building or group of buildings in which missionary work is performed
    3. the area assigned to a particular missionary
  4. the dispatch of aircraft or spacecraft to achieve a particular task
  5. a church or chapel that has no incumbent of its own
  6. a charitable centre that offers shelter, aid, or advice to the destitute or underprivileged
  7. (modifier) of or relating to an ecclesiastical missiona mission station
  8. Southern African a long and difficult process
  9. (modifier) US (of furniture) in the style of the early Spanish missions of the southwestern US
  1. (tr) to direct a mission to or establish a mission in (a given region)

Word Origin for mission

C16: from Latin missiō, from mittere to send
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

Word Origin and History for missional



1590s, "a sending abroad," originally of Jesuits, from Latin missionem (nominative missio) "act of sending, a despatching; a release, a setting at liberty; discharge from service, dismissal," noun of action from past participle stem of mittere "to send," oldest form probably *smittere, of unknown origin.

Diplomatic sense of "body of persons sent to a foreign land on commercial or political business" is from 1620s. In American English, sometimes "an embassy" (1805). Meaning "dispatch of an aircraft on a military operation" (1929, American English) later extended to spacecraft flights (1962), hence, mission control (1964). As a style of furniture, said to be imitative of furniture in the buildings of original Spanish missions to North America, it is attested from 1900.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper