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[mish-uh-ner-ee] /ˈmɪʃ əˌnɛr i/

noun, plural missionaries. Also, missioner
a person sent by a church into an area to carry on evangelism or other activities, as educational or hospital work.
a person strongly in favor of a program, set of principles, etc., who attempts to persuade or convert others.
a person who is sent on a .
pertaining to or connected with religious .
engaged in such a , or devoted to work connected with .
reflecting or prompted by the desire to persuade or convert others:
the missionary efforts of political fanatics.
characteristic of a missionary.
noun (pl) -aries
a member of a religious mission
of or relating to missionaries: missionary work
resulting from a desire to convert people to one’s own beliefs: missionary zeal

1650s, from missionary (adj.). Missionary position attested by 1963, said to have been coined by Kinsey (1948), who identified its origin in work done by Polish anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski in Melanesia in the 1920s; allegedly from the term used by South Pacific peoples to describe what Christian missionaries promoted to replace their local variations. By late 1960s it became the general term for this type of sex, formerly also known as the English-American position.

“sent on a mission,” 1640s, from Modern Latin missionarius “pertaining to a mission,” from Latin missionem (see mission).


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