Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A Protestant woman who assists the minister in various functions.
  • n. Used as a title prefixed to the surname of such a woman: Deaconess Brown.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A female deacon.
  • n. A female servant in the early Christian church.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of an order of women whose duties resembled those of deacons.
  • n. A woman set apart for church work by a bishop.
  • n. A woman chosen as a helper in church work, as among the Congregationalists.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One of an ecclesiastical order of women in the early church, who discharged for members of their own sex those parts of the diaconal office which could not conveniently or fitly be performed by men.
  • n. A member of an order of women more or less fully established in recent times in several Protestant churches, with duties similar to the preceding; also, a member of the Institution of Deaconesses first established by Pastor Fliedner, of the United Evangelical Church of Prussia, at Kaiserswerth in 1836.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a woman deacon

Etymologies

deacon +‎ -ess (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A deaconess is a member of a deaconess institution, actively engaged in charitable deeds, but, like the deaconess on the Continent, she can sever her connection with it when adequate cause presents itself, and return to her family and friends.

    Deaconesses in Europe and their Lessons for America

  • Mission, is in all respects a synonym for "deaconess," as the name is understood in the large deaconess establishment at Mildmay.

    Deaconesses in Europe and their Lessons for America

  • In the case of Phoebe, they usually translate it "deaconess".

    Yahoo! Answers: Latest Questions

  • Despite the lack of clarity on the term and its origin, it is clear that, by the 4th century, there were women in the Church exercising definite functions and styled with the term "deaconess".

    National Catholic Reporter

  • Is it not hurtful that the apostle Junia was renamed Junias and called a man to suit the male translators and that Phoebe was not called a minister as the Greek implies but a "deaconess" instead?

    Women's Space

  • The very interesting article from which the quotation has just been made seems to think the term "deaconess" a misnomer for the Kaiserswerth deaconess, as she belongs to a community, whereas the deaconess of the early Church was attached to a congregation and belonged to a single church as an officer; but it may well be questioned whether the class of duties assigned to the deaconess of the early Church and of modern times alike, that is, the nursing of the sick, the care of the infirm in body and mind, the succoring of the unfortunate, and the education of children, are not the main characteristics of the office of a deaconess, while the fact of her connection with a number of like-minded women in community life is merely an external feature of the office as it has developed in the nineteenth century.

    Deaconesses in Europe and their Lessons for America

  • "deaconess" of the church which is at Cenchrea -- The word is "Cenchreae," the eastern part of Corinth (Ac 18: 18).

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • I was a deaconess in my church for goodness sakes!

    Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grandmothers

  • He summarized the state of deaconess issue as follows: The possibility of ordaining women to the diaconate is still an unsettled question in the Catholic Church.

    Milwaukee News Item #1: Married Catholic Priests « PurpleSlog – Awesomeness & Modesty Meets Sexy

  • That it was not was demonstrated by no less an authority than the minister at the Congregational church where I was a deaconess.

    Birdology

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.