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See also: Deacon



From Old English diacon, from Ecclesiastical Latin diaconus, from Ancient Greek διᾱ́κονος (diā́konos, servant, minister).


  • Hyphenation: dea‧con
  • enPR: dē'k(ə)n, IPA(key): /ˈdiːkən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːkən


deacon (plural deacons)

  1. (Christianity) A designated minister of charity in the early Church (see Acts 6:1-6).
  2. (Christianity) By extension, a modern day member of a church who handles secular and/or administrative duties in a priest's stead, the specifics of which depends on denomination.
  3. (Orthodoxy, Catholicism) A clergyman ranked directly below a priest, with duties of helping the priests and carrying out parish work.
  4. (Protestantism) Free Churches: A lay leader of a congregation who assists the pastor.
  5. (Protestantism) Anglicanism: An ordained clergyman usually serving a year prior to being ordained presbyter, though in some cases they remain a permanent deacon.
  6. (Protestantism) Methodism: A separate office from that of minister, neither leading to the other; instead there is a permanent deaconate.
  7. (Freemasonry) A junior lodge officer.
  8. (Mormonism) The lowest office in the Aaronic priesthood, generally held by 12 or 13 year old boys or recent converts.
  9. (US, animal husbandry) A male calf of a dairy breed, so called because they are usually deaconed (see below).
  10. (Scotland) The chairman of an incorporated company.


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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

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deacon (third-person singular simple present deacons, present participle deaconing, simple past and past participle deaconed)

  1. (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.
  2. (US, animal husbandry) To kill a calf shortly after birth.
  3. (US, slang) To place fresh fruit at the top of a barrel or other container, with spoiled or imperfect fruit hidden beneath.
    • 1868, Louisa May Alcott, Little Women:
      The blanc mange was lumpy, and the strawberries not as ripe as they looked, having been skilfully 'deaconed'.
    • 1902, George Horace Lorimer, Old Gorgon Graham[1]:
      It's like buying a barrel of apples that's been deaconed — after you've found that the deeper you go the meaner and wormier the fruit, you forget all about the layer of big, rosy, wax-finished pippins that was on top.
  4. (US, slang) To make sly alterations to the boundaries of (land); to adulterate or doctor (an article to be sold), etc.