Definition of clerisy
clerisy was our Word of the Day on 10/10/2014. Hear the podcast!
Examples of clerisy in a sentence
a society lacking a well-established clerisy with a strong commitment to democratic ideals
Did You Know?
English philosopher-poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) believed that if humanity was to flourish, it was necessary to create a secular organization of learned individuals, "whether poets, or philosophers, or scholars" to "diffuse through the whole community … that quantity and quality of knowledge which was indispensable." Coleridge named this hypothetical group the clerisy, a term he adapted from Klerisei, a German word for clergy (in preference, it seems, to the Russian term intelligentsia which we borrowed later, in the early 1900s). Coleridge may have equated clerisy with an old sense of clergy meaning "learning" or "knowledge," which by his time was used only in the proverb "an ounce of mother wit is worth a pound of clergy."
Origin and Etymology of clerisy
German Klerisei clergy, from Medieval Latin clericia, from Late Latin clericus cleric
First Known Use: 1818
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