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