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Attested in the 13th Century CE; from clergie, from Old French clergié(learned men), from Late Latin clericātus, from Latin clericus(one ordained for religious services), from Ancient Greek κληρικός(klērikós, of the clergy).



clergy ‎(plural clergies)

  1. Body of persons, such as ministers, sheiks, priests and rabbis, who are trained and ordained for religious service.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 5, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      Then everybody once more knelt, and soon the blessing was pronounced. The choir and the clergy trooped out slowly, […], down the nave to the western door. […] At a seemingly immense distance the surpliced group stopped to say the last prayer.
    Today we brought together clergy from the Wiccan, Christian, New Age and Islamic traditions for an interfaith dialogue.

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  • clergy” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).