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

  • n. The act of serving; ministration.
  • n. One that serves as a means; an instrumentality.
  • n. The profession, duties, and services of a minister.
  • n. The Christian clergy.
  • n. The period of service of a minister.
  • n. A governmental department presided over by a minister.
  • n. The building in which such a department is housed.
  • n. The duties, functions, or term of a governmental minister.
  • n. Governmental ministers considered as a group.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Government department, at the administrative level normally headed by a minister (or equivalent rank, e.g. secretary of state), who holds it as portfolio, especially in a constitutional monarchy
  • n. The complete body of government ministers (whether or not they are in cabinet) under the leadership of a head of government (such as a prime minister)
  • n. A ministration
  • n. The active practice and education of the minister of a particular religion or faith.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of ministering; ministration; service.
  • n. Agency; instrumentality.
  • n. The office, duties, or functions of a minister, servant, or agent; ecclesiastical, executive, or ambassadorial function or profession.
  • n. The body of ministers of state; also, the clergy, as a body.
  • n. Administration; rule; term in power.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of ministering; the rendering of service; ministration.
  • n. The state of ministering or serving; agency; instrumentality.
  • n. The office or function of a minister, civil or ecclesiastical; the state of being a minister, in any sense; the exercise of a ministerial office: as, to discharge one's ministry faithfully; to enter the ministry of the gospel; to be appointed to the ministry of war.
  • n. The general or a particular body of ministers of religion; the ministerial or clerical class; the clergy or priesthood.
  • n. The body of ministers of state in a conntry; the heads of departments collectively; the executive administration: as, to form a ministry; the policy of the British ministry; the French ministry has resigned. In the United States the corresponding body is called the cabinet.
  • n. A ministerial department of government; the organization of functionaries administering a branch of public affairs; a minister and his subordinates collectively: as, the ministry of war or of justice.

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

  • n. religious ministers collectively (especially Presbyterian)
  • n. the work of a minister of religion
  • n. a government department under the direction of a minister
  • n. building where the business of a government department is transacted


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

Middle English ministerie, from Old French ministere, from Latin ministerium, from minister, servant; see mei-2 in Indo-European roots.


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  • the frost performs its secret ministry

    un helped by any wind


    May 8, 2009