a. Apostle One of a group made up especially of the 12 disciples chosen by Jesus to preach the gospel.
b. A missionary of the early Christian Church.
c. A leader of the first Christian mission to a country or region.
2. One of the 12 members of the administrative council in the Mormon Church.
a. One who pioneers an important reform movement, cause, or belief: an apostle of conservation.
b. A passionate adherent; a strong supporter.
[Middle English, from Old English apostol and from Old French apostle, both from Late Latin apostolus, from Greek apostolos, messenger, from apostellein, to send off : apo-, apo- + stellein, to send; see stel- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.