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



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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 federal judge overseeing the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe granted a motion to allow lawyers representing a group of victims of clergy abuse to pursue over $245 million of church assets for their clients. Josh Saul,, "Abuse Victims Win Right to Sue for $245 Million of Church Assets," 12 Oct. 2020 The staff member will manage bimonthly meetings of the Community Peace Collaborative, formerly known as the city’s Gang Violence Task Force, and the regular meetings of local clergy. oregonlive, "Portland on course to have most deadly spate of violence in at least six years," 2 Oct. 2020 In 1904, Congress authorized the printing of 9,000 copies of the Jefferson Bible to the consternation of large numbers of Christian clergy, who understood its assault on traditional orthodoxies. Crawford Gribben, WSJ, "‘The Jefferson Bible’ Review: The Gospel, Sans Miracles," 30 Sep. 2020 Huntsville City Councilman Will Culver, local clergy and a handful of off-duty Huntsville police officers, along with members of the community. Anna Claire Vollers |, al, "Unity rally split over use of police force at protests," 13 June 2020 The Borgia family wasn’t afraid to kill to hold onto its powerful position in the Catholic clergy. Meg Neal, Popular Mechanics, "Nature's Toxic Gifts: The Deadly Story of Poison," 4 Oct. 2020 Further appeals to the Vatican produced another morass of perjury and lies, but the senior clergy remained surprisingly unyielding. Caroline Moorehead, WSJ, "‘The Perfect Fascist’ Review: Mussolini’s Man," 2 Oct. 2020 Through their attorneys, the seven-member creditors’ committee — which includes six clergy abuse claimants — immediately balked at that idea. Ramon Antonio Vargas | Staff Writer,, "People claiming to be victims of New Orleans clergy sex abuse must come forward by March 1: judge," 17 Sep. 2020 Other larger houses of worship are holding their own, in no small part because of the PPP grants that paid for staffing, including the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis and the Cathedral of St. Paul, their clergy said. Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune, "Faith groups grapple with economic fallout of COVID-19," 22 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for clergy

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for clergy

Last Updated

26 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Clergy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for clergy


How to pronounce clergy (audio)

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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