cler·​i·​cal·​ism ˈkler-i-kə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce clericalism (audio)
: a policy of maintaining or increasing the power of a religious hierarchy

Examples of clericalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Once again clericalism triumphed. The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Nov. 2020 Voltaire failed to understand the plight of provincial Catholics; Weinberger would doubtless take him to task for a gentlemanly anti-clericalism. Russell Jacoby, Harper’s Magazine , 16 Feb. 2023 Along the way, the office sorted labor into novel categories: pedantic clericalism, bureaucratic management, executive power. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 6 July 2022 And it’s not just what is known as clericalism that is the problem. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, 16 Nov. 2020 Failing to properly investigate rumors about McCarrick was a sign of both incompetence and clericalism. The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Nov. 2020 This is a sign that clericalism was at work as much as incompetence. The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Nov. 2020 Pope Francis, who ordered the report in 2018, has frequently attributed the crisis to clericalism, a systemic abuse of power and the unhealthy pursuit of authority within the church’s hierarchy. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, 10 Nov. 2020 Fortuyn carried the torch of the Dutch tradition of anti-clericalism., 20 Mar. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'clericalism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1864, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of clericalism was in 1864

Dictionary Entries Near clericalism

Cite this Entry

“Clericalism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

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