Etymology
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ministry (n.)

c. 1200, ministerie, "the office or function of a priest, a position in a church or monastery; service in matters of religion," from Old French menistere "service, ministry; position, post, employment" and directly from Latin ministerium "office, service, attendance, ministry," from minister "inferior, servant, priest's assistant" (see minister (n.)).

From late 14c. as "personal service or aid." From 1560s as "the body of ministers of religion, the clerical class." From 1710 as "the body of ministers of state in a country." It began to be used 1916 in the names of certain departments in the British government.

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ministerium (n.)

"ordained ministers of a (Lutheran) church district," 1818, from Latin ministerium (see ministry).

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mystery (n.2)

"handicraft, trade, art" (archaic), late 14c., misterie, from Medieval Latin misterium, alteration of Latin ministerium "service, occupation, office, ministry" (see ministry), influenced in form by Medieval Latin mysterium (see mystery (n.1)) and in sense by maistrie "mastery." Now perhaps only in mystery play, in reference to the medieval performances, if they often were, as is often said, staged by members of craft guilds. The two senses of mystery formed a common pun in (secular) Tudor theater.

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*mei- (2)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "small."

It forms all or part of: administer; administration; comminute; diminish; meiosis; Menshevik; menu; metier; mince; minestrone; minim; minimum; minister; ministration; ministry; minor; minuend; minuet; minus; minuscule; minute; minutia; Miocene; mis- (2); mite (n.2) "little bit;" mystery (n.2) "handicraft, trade, art;" nimiety.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit miyate "diminishes, declines;" Greek meion "less, smaller;" Latin minus, minor "smaller," minuere "to diminish, reduce, lessen;" Old English minsian "to diminish;" Russian men'she "less."

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minstrel (n.)

c. 1200, "a servant, a functionary;" c. 1300, "instrumental musician, singer or storyteller;" from Old French menestrel "entertainer, poet, musician; servant, workman;" also "a good-for-nothing, a rogue," from Medieval Latin ministralis "servant, jester, singer," from Late Latin ministerialem (nominative ministerialis) "imperial household officer, one having an official duty," from ministerialis (adj.) "ministerial," from Latin ministerium (see ministry). The connecting notion to entertainers is the jester, musician, etc., as a court position.

Specific sense of "musician" developed in Old French, and the Norman conquest introduced the class into England, where they assimilated with the native gleemen. But in English from late 14c. to 16c. the word was used of anyone (singers, storytellers, jugglers, buffoons) whose profession was to entertain patrons. Their social importance and reputation in England deteriorated and by Elizabethan times they were ranked as a public nuisance. Only in 18c. English was the word limited, in a historical sense, to "medieval singer of heroic or lyric poetry who accompanied himself on a stringed instrument." Compare troubadour, jongleur.

By 1843 in American English in reference to a class of singers of "Negro melodies" and delineators of "plantation life," usually white men in blackface (burnt cork). The act itself dates to c. 1830.

The characteristic feature of such a troupe or band is the middle-man or interlocutor, who leads talk and gives the cues, and the two end-men, who usually perform on the tambourine and the bones, and between whom the indispensable conundrums and jokes are exchanged. As now constituted, a negro-minstrel troupe retains but little of its original character except the black faces and the old jokes. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
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ministerial (adj.)

1560s, in religion, "pertaining to the office, character, or habits of a clergyman;" 1650s, in politics, "of or pertaining to a minister or ministry of the state;" in some uses from French ministériel and directly from Medieval Latin ministerialis "pertaining to service, of a minister," from Latin ministerium "office, service, attendance, ministry," from minister "inferior, servant, priest's assistant" (see minister (n.)). In some cases probably directly from minister or ministry. Related: Ministerially.

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prime minister 

"leading minister of a government, the chief of the cabinet or ministry," 1640s, see prime (adj.) and minister (n.). Applied to the First Minister of State of Great Britain since 1694.

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quai (n.)

1870, "public path beside a waterway," usually having buildings along the land side, from French quai (12c., see quay). In a French context it is often short for Quai d'Orsay, the street on the south bank of the Seine in Paris, since mid-19c. site of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and hence sometimes used metonymically for it (by 1922).

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commissariat (n.)

c. 1600, in Scottish law, "commissary court," from French commissariat, from Medieval Latin *commissariatus, from commissarius (see commissary). Military sense of "part of an army that supplies transport, provisions, camp equipment, etc.," is from 1779. In reference to the USSR, "ministry," from 1918 (see commissar).

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ordination (n.)

c. 1400, ordinacioun, "divine decree;" early 15c., "arrangement, putting in order," also "the act of admitting to holy orders or the Christian ministry" (the main surviving sense), from Old French ordinacion (12c.) or directly from Latin ordinationem (nominative ordinatio) "a setting in order, ordinance," noun of action from past participle stem of ordinare "to put in order, arrange, dispose, appoint," from ordo (genitive ordinis) "row, rank, series, arrangement" (see order (n.)).

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