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

While Khamenei, Iran’s ultimate arbiter on all matters of state, is ideologically more aligned with hardline conservatives, Rouhani’s two election victories show the top cleric understands the need to be pragmatic at times of economic crisis. David Wainer, Fortune, "Trump and Rouhani Have Little Incentive to Meet. Here’s Why," 27 Aug. 2019 This is happening in an environment where all of the Kashmiri leadership—mainstream, resistance, activists, educationists, and even clerics—has been arrested. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "Getting trolled is a small price to pay to get information out of Kashmir, says activist Shehla Rashid," 22 Aug. 2019 Among the most renowned of the cloister’s early tenants was the young cleric Abérlard, founder of a school to which the present-day University of Paris traces its origins. Bruce Dale, National Geographic, "Adored, neglected, and restored: A 1968 Nat Geo feature explored Notre Dame," 17 Apr. 2019 Iran’s presidential election on May 19 will in all likelihood be won by the incumbent, the moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani. The New York Review of Books, "Christopher de Bellaigue," 4 Apr. 2019 In recent months, the powerful Muslim nations of Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, backed by the Afghan government and its main ally, the U.S., have hosted large gatherings of Muslim religious scholars and clerics. Ehsanullah Amiri, WSJ, "Spate of Deadly Violence Darkens Peace Prospects in Afghanistan," 15 Aug. 2018 The synod signed the order to depose Formosus, and then condemned him and revoked all his appointments, so that all clerics ordained by him were forced to repeat the appointment process all over again. National Geographic, "In 897, the corpse of a pope was exhumed—to be put on trial.," 20 Aug. 2019 District Court Judge Emily Tobolowsky ruled that the cleric, Imam Zia ul-Haq Sheikh, 50, must compensate the woman for mental anguish and other damages, The Dallas Morning News reported. Fox News, "Muslim cleric in Texas ordered to pay woman $2.5M in sexual exploitation lawsuit," 15 Aug. 2019 The cleric, Fethullah Gulen, denies the accusation. Ann M. Simmons, WSJ, "Turkey Receives Russian Missile System, Risking U.S. Sanctions," 12 July 2019

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

7 Sep 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).


recurring in steady succession

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

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!