cler·​ic | \ ˈkler-ik How to pronounce cleric (audio) , ˈkle-rik\

Definition of cleric

: a member of the clergy

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of cleric in a Sentence

clerics were sharply divided on the issue of whether the war was morally justified

Recent Examples on the Web

An Iranian cleric known for his role in condemning thousands of political prisoners to death in the 1980s will take leadership of Iran’s powerful judiciary this week, in a move that is expected to keep the post under the influence of hard-liners. Sune Engel Rasmussen, WSJ, "Hard-Line Cleric to Head Iran’s Judiciary," 6 Mar. 2019 Newcastle is in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales state north of Sydney which has become notorious for pedophile clerics. Rod Mcguirk, The Seattle Times, "Australian Anglican set to be defrocked over abuse inaction," 19 Feb. 2019 Instead, Wilson's legal team argued for the cleric to be released on a good behavior bond. Fox News, "Australian bishop to be sentenced next month for cover-up," 19 June 2018 Syed Sufi Gardezi, the most senior Shiite cleric in Gardez, put the death toll at 30. Amir Shah, Fox News, "Suicide bombing at mosque in Afghanistan kills at least 29," 3 Aug. 2018 The leading clerics in Najaf endorsed elections under America’s auspices. Thanassis Cambanis,, "How did Iraq’s Moqtada al-Sadr become a statesman? People just got used to him," 26 May 2018 Multi-colored cards, as the name suggests, often overlap with two colors (a vampire cleric would be a good white/black card for example) and requires both color land to play the card. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "How to Play 'Magic: The Gathering': Everything You Need to Know," 19 Feb. 2019 Many of its creatures are soldiers, clerics, and knights, and its spells focus on increasing the health and the attack of your minions (also known as buffs) or healing them (or yourself) instead. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "How to Play 'Magic: The Gathering': Everything You Need to Know," 19 Feb. 2019 The investigations include reports of abuse by bishops, clerics and lay workers. Fox News, "Pope praises Chile bishops for reflecting on their failures," 6 Aug. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of cleric

1621, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cleric

Late Latin clericus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cleric

Statistics for cleric

Last Updated

18 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cleric

The first known use of cleric was in 1621

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cleric



English Language Learners Definition of cleric

: a member of the clergy in any religion

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cleric

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cleric

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cleric

Spanish Central: Translation of cleric

Nglish: Translation of cleric for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cleric for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cleric

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


a strong desire or propensity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!