See also: Messenger


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From Middle English messengere, messingere, messangere, from Old French messanger, a variant of Old French messagier (French messager), equivalent to message +‎ -er. Doublet of messager. Displaced native Old English boda (messenger, envoy) and Old English ærendwreca (messenger, ambassador).

For the replacement of -ager with -enger, -inger, -anger, compare passenger, harbinger, scavenger, porringer. This development may have been merely the addition of n, or it may have resulted due to contamination from other suffixes such as Middle English -ing and the rare Old French -ange, -enc, -inge, -inghe (-ing) for Old French -age (-age).



messenger (plural messengers)

  1. One who brings messages.
  2. (nautical) A light line with which a heavier line may be hauled e.g. from the deck of a ship to the pier.
  3. The supporting member of an aerial cable (electric power or telephone or data).
  4. (law) A person appointed to perform certain ministerial duties under bankrupt and insolvent laws, such as to take charge of the estate of the bankrupt or insolvent.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Bouvier to this entry?)
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Tomlins to this entry?)
  5. (computing) An instant messenger program.
  6. A forerunner.
  7. A light scudding cloud preceding a storm.
  8. A piece of paper, etc., blown up a string to a kite.
  9. (oceanography) A weight dropped down a line to close a Nansen bottle.
  10. The secretary bird.
  11. (Scotland) A messenger-at-arms.

Derived termsEdit



messenger (third-person singular simple present messengers, present participle messengering, simple past and past participle messengered)

  1. (transitive) To send something by messenger.
    I'll messenger over the signed documents.