You might meet a minister of the religious kind — a pastor or a rector. Or, you may meet a minister of the government kind — a prime minister or a minister of finance, for example.

You don't have to be religious to minister. When you minister to someone, you take care of them. All of these meanings of minister — both as a noun and as a verb — contain a grain of the original Latin meaning, "servant." A minister in a church serves his or her flock, and a prime minister serves his or her country.

Definitions of minister

n a person authorized to conduct religious worship

“clergymen are usually called ministers in Protestant churches”
curate, minister of religion, parson, pastor, rector
someone who serves as a minister
Type of:
clergyman, man of the cloth, reverend
a member of the clergy and a spiritual leader of the Christian Church

n the job of a head of a government department

cabinet minister
the job of a senior minister who is a member of the cabinet
Type of:
public service
employment within a government system (especially in the civil service)

n a person appointed to a high office in the government

Minister of Finance”
government minister
(Old Testament) the minister of the Persian emperor who hated the Jews and was hanged for plotting to massacre them
Ahmed Zoki Yamani
Saudi Arabian minister of petroleum who was a central figure in the creation of OPEC (born in 1930)
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cabinet minister
a person who is a member of the cabinet
finance minister, minister of finance
the minister responsible for state finances
foreign minister, secretary of state
a government minister for foreign relations
Chancellor, Chancellor of the Exchequer
the British cabinet minister responsible for finance
Chief Secretary
a member of the British Cabinet
Home Secretary, Secretary of State for the Home Department
the British cabinet minister who is head of the Home Office
Lord Chancellor, Lord High Chancellor
the highest officer of the Crown who is head of the judiciary and who presides in the House of Lords
Lord Privy Seal
the senior cabinet minister in the British Cabinet who has no official duties
First Lord of the Treasury, Treasury
the British cabinet minister responsible for economic strategy
Type of:
executive, executive director
a person responsible for the administration of a business

n a diplomat representing one government to another; ranks below ambassador

diplomatic minister
Type of:
diplomat, diplomatist
an official engaged in international negotiations

v attend to the wants and needs of others

“I have to minister to my mother all the time”
Type of:
attend, look, see, take care
take charge of or deal with

v work as a minister

“She is ministering in an old parish”
Type of:
exert oneself by doing mental or physical work for a purpose or out of necessity

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