The Meaning of Missionary: What It Is and How To Use It

What is a missionary, and what do they do? This article will define the meaning of missionary and explain what a missionary does.

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Has a missionary ever come to your door? Have you ever been on a mission trip? This article will define the word missionary and teach you how to use it. Then, it will provide several example sentences using the word missionary, translations of missionary, synonyms of missionary, and antonyms of missionary. 

By the end of this article, you will be able to use the word missionary with confidence!

What Does Missionary Mean?

According to Dictionary, a missionary is a person who spreads a church’s ideals and beliefs to other areas. A missionary is a person who tries to persuade others into having the same beliefs as they do or into joining their church. The pronunciation of mission is ˈmɪʃən-ary, and missionary is four syllables: mis-sion-ar-y.

Missionary can also be an adjective that means having the characteristics of a missionary or someone who tries to convert others. The word missionary can also refer to the missionary position, a sex position in which a couple lies face to face. 

How Can We Use Missionary in a Sentence?

Below you will find several example sentences containing this word of the day. Using words like missionary in sentences is a fantastic way to familiarize yourself with their definitions. 

You might have the definition of missionary memorized, but it is not as useful if you cannot apply this knowledge. Therefore, study the example sentences below which contain the word missionary to learn how to use this new word.

The Methodist missionary effort extended into the foreign country, where they tried to convert everyone in the small villages to join their religion. However, many of the people in the villages were hesitant to give up their ancient religions.

The young girl went against the missionary society of her church and urged the members to let other people practice whatever system of belief they pleased.

The man had a miserable time on his religious mission trip. Rather than reinforcing his current beliefs, his journey did the opposite. 

The family was very proud of their son’s Christian missionary work. He had been to over a dozen countries spreading the gospel.

When they found out that the teenager had been getting into drinking and drugs, the church sent him on a religious mission to try and knock some sense into him.

The student body president spread her re-election campaign with missionary zeal.

What Is the Etymology of Missionary?

The word missionary is Latin in origin and entered the English language in the early to mid-1600s, between 1625 and 1635. This word originates from the New Latin missiōnārius.

What Are Translations of Missionary?

Missionaries travel all over the world to spread their respective religions, so it is important to know how to say the word missionary in languages that are not the American English language. In order to learn many different translations of the word missionary, you can reference this list from Nice Translator

You might pick up on the fact that many of these translations of missionary look and sound similar to the word missionary. 

When words in different languages look and sound alike, as well as have the same or a similar meaning, these are called cognates. In addition, cognates are often formed when two translated words have the same language of origin: in this case, Latin.

  • Turkish: misyoner
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 傳教士
  • Portuguese (Portugal): missionário
  • Basque: misiolari
  • Kannada: ಮಿಷನರಿ
  • Icelandic: trúboði
  • Finnish: lähetyssaarnaaja
  • Urdu: مشنری
  • Bulgarian: мисионер
  • Czech: misionář
  • Chinese (PRC): 传教士
  • Lithuanian: misionierius
  • Serbian: мисионар
  • Slovak: misionár
  • Norwegian: misjonær
  • German: Missionar
  • Bengali: মিশনারি
  • Vietnamese: Nhà truyền giáo
  • Gujarati: મિશનરી
  • Amharic: ሚስዮናዊ
  • Spanish: misionero
  • Ukrainian: місіонер
  • Telugu: మిషనరీ
  • Hindi: मिशनरी
  • Malayalam: പാതിരി
  • Japanese: 宣教師
  • Swedish: missionär
  • Arabic: التبشيري
  • Indonesian: misionaris
  • Tamil: மிஷனரி
  • Croatian: misionar
  • Filipino: misyonero
  • French: missionnaire
  • Hungarian: misszionárius
  • Welsh: cenhadwr
  • Marathi: मिशनरी
  • Polish: misjonarz
  • Hebrew: מִיסִיוֹנֶרִי
  • Latvian: misionārs
  • Catalan: missioner
  • Portuguese (Brazil): missionário
  • Danish: missionær
  • Dutch: missionaris
  • Slovenian: misijonar
  • Swahili: Mmishonari
  • Greek: ιεραπόστολος
  • Romanian: misionar
  • Italian: missionario
  • Estonian: misjonär
  • Thai: ผู้สอนศาสนา
  • Malay: mubaligh
  • Russian: миссионер
  • Korean: 전도사

What Are Synonyms of Missionary?

Power Thesaurus lists several words that you can use in place of the word missionary. A missionary often refers to a religious person who is focused on spreading their own religion to others. Still, there are several words like missionary that might refer to other people who work for the church or who are dedicated to spreading their religion. 

How many of these synonyms of missionary do you know?

  • apostle
  • apostles
  • archbishop
  • archdeacon
  • bishop
  • campaigner
  • chaplain
  • clergyman
  • clergyperson
  • clergywoman
  • cleric
  • converter
  • crusader
  • curate
  • divine
  • ecclesiast
  • ecclesiastic
  • evangelical
  • evangelist
  • evangelistic
  • evangelizer
  • evangelizing
  • gospeler
  • herald
  • messenger
  • minister
  • mission
  • missional
  • missionaries
  • missioner
  • padre
  • parson
  • pastor
  • preacher
  • predicant
  • priest
  • propagandist
  • proselytizer
  • proselytizing
  • pulpiteer
  • pulpiter
  • rector
  • religious teacher
  • reverend
  • revivalist
  • sermonizer
  • teacher
  • televangelist
  • vicar

What Are Antonyms of Missionary?

Someone who is the opposite of a missionary is a person who is not religious or who is against religion. To learn more about different words that you can use to describe someone who is the opposite of the word missionary, you can take a look at this list of missionary antonyms from Power Thesaurus.

  • agnostic
  • apostate
  • atheist
  • atheistic
  • cynic
  • disbeliever
  • dissenter
  • doubter
  • doubting thomas
  • faithless
  • free thinker
  • freethinker
  • gentile
  • godless
  • heathen
  • heretic
  • idolater
  • infidel
  • irreligionist
  • irreligious
  • materialist
  • nihilist
  • non-believer
  • non-theist
  • nonbeliever
  • nullifidian
  • pagan
  • pantheist
  • paynim
  • pessimist
  • polytheist
  • rationalist
  • scoffer
  • skeptic
  • unbeliever
  • unbelieving


The definition of missionary is a person who spreads their religion. Often, missionaries travel around the world and proselytize to people in different countries. Missionaries have many different tactics for converting others to their religion.


  1. Missionary synonyms – 233 Words and Phrases for Missionary | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Atheist synonyms – 146 Words and Phrases for Atheist | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Missionary Definition & Meaning | 
  4. Missionary | Nice Translator