from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A cleric ranking just below a priest in the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches.
  • noun A lay assistant to a Protestant minister.
  • noun Used as a title prefixed to the surname of such a person.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make or ordain deacon.
  • To read out, as a line of a psalm or hymn, before singing it: sometimes with off: from an ancient custom of reading the hymn one or two lines at a time, the congregation singing the lines as read.
  • To arrange so as to present a specious and attractive appearance; present the best and largest specimens (of fruit or vegetables) to view and conceal the defective ones: as, to deacon strawberries or apples.
  • To sophisticate; adulterate; “doctor”: as, to deacon wine or other liquor.
  • noun A hunter's name for the young of the elk or wapiti, Cervus canadensis.
  • noun Eccles., one of a body of men, either forming an order of the ministry or serving merely as elected officers of individual churches, whose chief duty is to assist a presbyter, priest, or other clergyman, especially in administering the eucharist and in the care of the poor.
  • noun In Scotland, the president of an incorporated trade, who is the chairman of its meetings and signs its records.
  • noun [Allusion not clear.] A green salted hide or skin weighing less than 8 pounds.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Eccl.) An officer in Christian churches appointed to perform certain subordinate duties varying in different communions. In the Roman Catholic and Episcopal churches, a person admitted to the lowest order in the ministry, subordinate to the bishops and priests. In Presbyterian churches, he is subordinate to the minister and elders, and has charge of certain duties connected with the communion service and the care of the poor. In Congregational churches, he is subordinate to the pastor, and has duties as in the Presbyterian church.
  • noun Scot. The chairman of an incorporated company.
  • transitive verb Colloq. New. Eng. To read aloud each line of (a psalm or hymn) before singing it, -- usually with off.
  • transitive verb Colloq., U. S. With humorous reference to hypocritical posing: To pack (fruit or vegetables) with the finest specimens on top; to alter slyly the boundaries of (land); to adulterate or doctor (an article to be sold), etc.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Church history A designated minister of charity in the early Church (see Acts 6:1-6).
  • noun Roman Catholicism A clergyman ranked directly below a priest, with duties of helping the priests and carrying out parish work.
  • noun Protestantism - Free Churches: A lay leader of a congregation who assists the pastor.
  • noun Protestantism - Anglicanism: An ordained clergyman usually serving a year prior to being ordained presbyter, though in some cases they remain a permanent deacon.
  • noun Protestantism - Methodism: A separate office from that of minister, neither leading to the other; instead there is a permanent deaconate.
  • noun freemasonry A junior Lodge officer.
  • noun Mormonism The lowest office in the Aaronic priesthood, generally held by 12 or 13 year old boys or recent converts.
  • noun US, animal husbandry A male calf of a dairy breed, so called because they are usually deaconed (see below).
  • verb Christianity, music For a choir leader to lead a hymn by speaking one or two lines at a time, which are then sung by the choir.
  • verb US, animal husbandry To kill a calf shortly after birth.
  • verb US To place fresh fruit at the top of a barrel or other container, with spoiled or imperfect fruit hidden beneath.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a cleric ranking just below a priest in Christian churches; one of the Holy Orders
  • noun a Protestant layman who assists the minister


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English deken, from Old English dīacon, from Late Latin diāconus, perhaps from Greek diākonos, attendant, minister.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English diacon, from ecclesiastical Latin diaconus, from Ancient Greek διάκονος (diākonos, "servant, minister").


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