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mis·sion (mĭshən)
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n.
1.
a. A special assignment given to a person or group: an agent on a secret mission.
b. A combat operation assigned to a person or military unit.
c. An aerospace operation intended to carry out specific program objectives: a mission to Mars.
2. An ambition or purpose that is assumed by a person or group: felt it was his mission in life to help the poor.
3.
a. A body of persons sent to conduct negotiations or establish relations with a foreign country.
b. The business with which such a body of persons is charged.
c. A permanent diplomatic office abroad.
d. A body of experts or dignitaries sent to a foreign country.
4.
a. A body of persons sent to a foreign land by a religious organization, especially a Christian organization, to spread its faith or provide educational, medical, and other assistance.
b. A mission established abroad.
c. The district assigned to a mission worker.
d. A building or compound housing a mission.
e. An organization for carrying on missionary work in a territory.
f. missions Missionary duty or work.
5. A Christian church or congregation with no cleric of its own that depends for support on a larger religious organization.
6. A welfare or educational organization established for the needy people of a district.
tr.v. mis·sioned, mis·sion·ing, mis·sions
1. To send (someone) on a mission.
2. To organize or establish a religious mission among (a people) or in (an area).
adj.
1. Of or relating to a mission.
2. Of or relating to a style of architecture or furniture used in the early Spanish missions of California.
3. often Mission Of or relating to a furniture style originating during the Arts and Crafts Movement and characterized by sturdy, angular, solid wood construction.

[French, from Old French, from Latin missiō, missiōn-, from missus, past participle of mittere, to send off.]

mission·al adj.
(click for a larger image)
mission
Mission San Luis Rey
Oceanside, California

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 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:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    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.

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