cler·gy | \ˈklər-jē \
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, 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 report was expected to be released last month, but at least two dozen current or former clergy members have asked the court to block its release. Aubrey Nagle,, "Pickleball takes over the Jersey Shore, Pa. Supreme Court donations in question | Morning Newsletter," 12 July 2018 Advocates for victims of abuse said that the edict had shielded clergy members from prosecution and contributed to cover-ups. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Kathy Shaw, Watchdog on Clergy Sexual Abuse, Dies at 72," 26 June 2018 The children wrapped themselves in Mylar blankets and sat in the center of a large prayer circle, and clergy and parents prayed over them. CBS News, "House vote on "compromise" immigration bill delayed until next week," 21 June 2018 Federal officials in New Hampshire have stunned advocates for Indonesian Christians at risk of deportation by barring clergy and a longtime translator from accompanying them to appointments at a federal building in Manchester. Brian Macquarrie,, "Federal officials bar immigrant advocates, translator from government building," 19 June 2018 As rival clergy and CICF raise questions about Ten Point’s effectiveness, the organization has gained support from law enforcement, neighborhood leaders and politicians who insist violence would be even worse in Indianapolis without Ten Point. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "Donald Trump, urban violence and the struggle for Ten Point Coalition’s soul," 20 May 2018 These clergy and parishioners dismissed the humanitarian act of rescuing Jews — which was also undeniably political — as a course best avoided by a church that perceived itself above the taint of worldly affairs. Rabbi Dan Fink, idahostatesman, "Neutrality is not a moral option | Idaho Statesman," 21 Apr. 2018 The first, a proposal brought by Portland clergy and numbered Initiative Petition 43, would ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in Oregon. Gordon R. Friedman,, "Initiative would make Oregon gun owners use trigger locks, be liable for injuries," 2 Apr. 2018 In addition to close family and friends, mourners Saturday included politicians — including Mayor Tom Barrett and city aldermen — activists, clergy and other leaders in Milwaukee's African-American community. Rick Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Vel Phillips remembered as pioneering civil rights leader at memorial service," 5 May 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

15 Oct 2018

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 \
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).


not any or not one

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