cler·​i·​cal | \ˈkler-i-kəl, ˈkle-ri-\

Definition of clerical 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of the clergy

2 : of or relating to a clerk



Definition of clerical (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a member of the clergy

3 : clerk

4 clericals plural : clerical garments

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Other Words from clerical


clerically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for clerical

Synonyms: Adjective

clerkly, ministerial, pastoral, priestly, sacerdotal

Synonyms: Noun

clergyperson, cleric, clerk, deacon, divine, dominie, ecclesiastic, minister, preacher, priest, reverend

Antonyms: Adjective

lay, nonclerical, secular, temporal

Antonyms: Noun

layman, layperson, secular

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Examples of clerical in a Sentence


She spent the summer doing clerical work for a lawyer. a member of our clerical staff The mistake was due to a clerical error.


some of the state's most prominent clericals have spoken out against the measure
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

At the same time, the witch hunters, the clerical and secular authorities presiding over inquisitions and tribunals tasked with identifying and eliminating witchcraft practitioners, were overwhelmingly male. Erin Cassese, Vox, "A political history of the term “witch hunt”," 31 Oct. 2018 Some were removed from their clerical positions or the ministry at some point. Ashraf Khalil, The Seattle Times, "Archdiocese releases names of ‘credibly’ accused clergy," 16 Oct. 2018 All innocuously clerical enough, until Toller’s disgust with a ministry-underwriting, EPA-flouting local industrialist (Michael Gaston) turns as malignant as whatever’s necessitating those whiskey-and-Pepto cocktails. Tom Russo,, "‘First Reformed’ is more dark musings from Schrader," 25 May 2018 Then came the big reveal: Muhlenberg opened his clerical robe. John Kelly, Washington Post, "A park on Connecticut Avenue NW has a statue of John Muhlenberg. Why?," 7 July 2018 Citing a court's clerical mistake, prosecutors are asking for a new execution date for Texas 7 escapee Joseph Garcia. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Prosecutors ask to push back death date for Texas 7 escapee, citing clerical error," 27 June 2018 After their arrest, they were stripped of their clerical garb, according to Theoharis, and spent much of the next 27 hours in handcuffs and leg shackles. Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin upbringing inspired Rev. Liz Theoharis' walk with the poor," 22 June 2018 Her mom, who had raised her children mostly alone on a clerical salary, tried to discourage her daughter’s artistic dreams and sent her to typing and accounting classes. Pam Kragen,, "'Stellaluna' author and artist celebrates 25th anniversary with exhibit," 1 July 2018 Between 1910 and 2000 in the United States, the share of people in professional, managerial, clerical, sales and service jobs grew from one-quarter to three-quarters of total employment, Graeber says. Alana Semuels, New York Times, "Are More and More People Working Meaningless Jobs?," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clerical.' 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 clerical


1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for clerical

Last Updated

18 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for clerical

The first known use of clerical was in 1592

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More Definitions for clerical



English Language Learners Definition of clerical

: of or relating to a clerk or office worker

: of or relating to members of the clergy


cler·​i·​cal | \ˈkler-i-kəl \

Kids Definition of clerical

1 : relating to the clergy The minister wore his clerical collar.

2 : relating to a clerk or office worker the clerical staff

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More from Merriam-Webster on clerical

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clerical

Spanish Central: Translation of clerical

Nglish: Translation of clerical for Spanish Speakers

Comments on clerical

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


a private place of worship

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