1. A cleric ranking just below a priest in the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches.
2. A lay assistant to a Protestant minister.
3. Used as a title prefixed to the surname of such a person: Deacon Brown.
[Middle English deken, from Old English dīacon, from Late Latin diāconus, perhaps from Greek diākonos, attendant, minister.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.