a. One who is authorized to perform religious functions in a Christian church, especially a Protestant church.
b. Roman Catholic Church The superior in certain orders.
2. A high officer of state appointed to head an executive or administrative department of government.
3. An authorized diplomatic representative of a government, usually ranking next below an ambassador.
4. A person serving as an agent for another by carrying out specified orders or functions.
v. min·is·tered, min·is·ter·ing, min·is·ters
1. To attend to the wants and needs of others: Volunteers ministered to the homeless after the flood. See Synonyms at tend2.
2. To perform the functions of a cleric.
To administer or dispense (a sacrament, for example).
[Middle English ministre, from Old French, from Latin minister, servant; see mei-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.