Pronunciation: (dē'ku-nis), [key]
1. (in certain Protestant churches) a woman belonging to an order or sisterhood dedicated to the care of the sick or poor or who is engaging in other social-service duties, as teaching or missionary work.
2. a woman elected by a church to assist the clergy.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.