A mission is a special quest, one that involves more effort than, say, a trip to the corner store. If you were to drive all around the state searching garage sales for porcelain cats, you could say you were on a mission.

Mission comes from a Latin word that means “to send.” It was first used by Jesuit missionaries who sent members of their order overseas to establish schools and churches. Foreign travel is still associated with the word. When diplomats and humanitarian workers travel abroad, we often refer to those trips as missions.

Definitions of mission
  1. noun
    an operation that is assigned by a higher headquarters
    “the planes were on a bombing mission
    synonyms: military mission
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    combat mission
    a mission to capture or defend something
    search mission
    a mission to discover something
    search and destroy mission
    an operation developed for United States troops in Vietnam; troops would move through a designated area destroying troops as they found them
    direct support
    a mission requiring one force to support another specific force and authorizing it to answer directly the supported force's request for assistance
    type of:
    military operation, operation
    activity by a military or naval force (as a maneuver or campaign)
  2. noun
    a special assignment that is given to a person or group
    “a confidential mission to London”
    synonyms: charge, commission
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    fool's errand
    a fruitless mission
    mission impossible
    an extremely dangerous or difficult mission
    martyr operation, sacrifice operation, suicide mission
    killing or injuring others while annihilating yourself; usually accomplished with a bomb
    type of:
    assignment, duty assignment
    a duty that you are assigned to perform (especially in the armed forces)
  3. noun
    an anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions
    synonyms: aim, design, intent, intention, purpose
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    idea, mind
    your intention; what you intend to do
    a contrary aim
    final cause
    (philosophy) the end or purpose of a thing or process
    the purpose of achieving or obtaining
    purpose; the phrase `with a view to' means `with the intention of' or `for the purpose of'
    a fixed and persistent intent or purpose
    type of:
    end, goal
    the state of affairs that a plan is intended to achieve and that (when achieved) terminates behavior intended to achieve it
  4. noun
    a group of representatives or delegates
    synonyms: commission, delegacy, delegation, deputation
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    diplomatic mission
    a mission serving diplomatic ends
    an ambassador and his or her entourage collectively
    High Commission
    an embassy of one British Commonwealth country to another
    foreign mission, legation
    a permanent diplomatic mission headed by a minister
    type of:
    organisation, organization
    a group of people who work together
  5. noun
    an organization of missionaries in a foreign land sent to carry on religious work
    synonyms: foreign mission, missionary post, missionary station
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    type of:
    NGO, nongovernmental organization
    an organization that is not part of the local or state or federal government
  6. noun
    a ministry operated by a religious organization to carry out humanitarian work
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    type of:
    an institution set up to provide help to the needy
  7. noun
    the organized work of a religious missionary
    synonyms: missionary work
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    da'wah, dawah
    missionary work for Islam
    type of:
    activity directed toward making or doing something
  8. noun
    a building or compound used by a group carrying out religious and humanitarian work
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    type of:
    building, edifice
    a structure that has a roof and walls and stands more or less permanently in one place
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘mission'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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