cler·​gy | \ ˈklər-jē How to pronounce clergy (audio) \
plural clergies

Definition of clergy

1 : a group ordained to perform pastoral or sacerdotal functions in a Christian church Members of the clergy have been invited to participate in an interfaith service.
2 : the official or sacerdotal class of a non-Christian religion Buddhist clergy

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Synonyms & Antonyms for clergy


church, cloth, first estate, ministry, spirituality, spiritualty



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Examples of clergy in a Sentence

Local clergy have been invited to participate in an interfaith service. a member of the clergy

Recent Examples on the Web

The United Methodist Church voted last week to uphold its rule that clergy remain celibate if single or monogamous if married. Mark Tooley, WSJ, "The African Future of ‘America’s Church’," 7 Mar. 2019 Her most extensive experience is dealing with clergy abuse. Natalie Andrews, WSJ, "Sex-Crimes Prosecutor: Claims From Ford Against Judge Kavanaugh Lack Sufficient Evidence," 1 Oct. 2018 This program is intended for parents, youth, caregivers, clergy, family members, town employees, teachers, support staff and any other caring member of the community. Courant Community, "Community News For The Hebron Edition," 10 July 2018 Our speakers included leading clergy, politicians, police and MAMA mothers. Steve West,, "A rally for MAMA | Opinion," 9 July 2018 But the resignations of an entire bishops’ conference has major symbolic significance after decades of turmoil over clergy abuse. Elisabetta Povoledo,, "Chile’s bishops resign en masse over sex abuse coverup," 18 May 2018 Peace officers, child-welfare investigators, child-safety workers, members of the clergy, priests or Christian Science practitioners. The Republic |, "Understand the system | For these people, reporting child abuse is mandatory," 12 Apr. 2018 Starting May 14, clergy, union members, and other activists will take part in the events in about 30 states, targeting Congress and state legislatures. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Who Represents MLK’s Legacy Today?," 4 Apr. 2018 Father Thomas Doyle, a leading expert on clergy abuse, analyzed the letter for the jury. CBS News, "Inside the trial of former priest charged with 1960 murder of Texas schoolteacher," 27 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clergy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of clergy

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for clergy

Middle English clergie, from Anglo-French, from clerc clergyman

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Statistics for clergy

Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for clergy

The first known use of clergy was in the 13th century

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English Language Learners Definition of clergy

: people (such as priests) who are the leaders of a religion and who perform religious services


cler·​gy | \ ˈklər-jē How to pronounce clergy (audio) \
plural clergies

Kids Definition of clergy

: the group of religious officials (as priests, ministers, and rabbis) specially prepared and authorized to lead religious services

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Comments on clergy

What made you want to look up clergy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to boil down or concentrate

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