cler·​i·​cal | \ ˈkler-i-kəl How to pronounce clerical (audio) , 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 \ ˈkler-​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce clerically (audio) , ˈkle-​ri-​ \ 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

In many cases, perhaps because of clerical errors or name changes, some people have been deemed citizens while their siblings or parents have not. New York Times, "A Mass Citizenship Check in India Leaves 2 Million People in Limbo," 31 Aug. 2019 After a clerical error schedules their weddings on the same day, two longtime best friends declare all-out war on each other. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 1 - 7, 2019: John Wayne in ‘The Searchers’ and more," 30 Aug. 2019 That could have been a clerical error, Miller said. Paul Egan, USA TODAY, "Man went to prison posing as his dead brother. Here's what happens next," 20 Aug. 2019 There are many reasons for the mismatch between names and Social Security numbers, including clerical errors, unreported name changes and inaccurate or incomplete employer records. Javonte Anderson,, "Letters to employers about Social Security numbers target immigrants, Chicago unions, elected officials say," 25 July 2019 One group that will be heavily affected is clerical and technical staff represented by California School Employees Association Los Angeles Chapter 500. Howard Blume,, "New L.A. schools budget includes raises, layoffs," 18 June 2019 The 32 embassy workers fired were mostly Cambodian and Cambodian-American guards and clerical staff. Fox News, "32 US embassy workers in Cambodia fired over alleged sharing of porn, including underage images," 13 Apr. 2018 After a clerical error schedules their weddings on the same day, two longtime best friends declare all-out war on each other. Los Angeles Times, "Here are the feature and TV films airing the week of Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019," 11 Aug. 2019 But due to a clerical error, the rate for general untreated water is recommended for another increase, according to RMWD. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Directors to consider revising untreated water rate increases," 8 Aug. 2019

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

9 Sep 2019

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 How to pronounce clerical (audio) \

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).


recurring in steady succession

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