\ ˈklərk, British usually ˈklärk \

Definition of clerk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : cleric
2 archaic : scholar
3a : an official responsible (as to a government agency) for correspondence, records, and accounts and vested with specified powers or authority (as to issue writs as ordered by a court) city clerk
b : one employed to keep records or accounts or to perform general office work a bank clerk
c : one who works at a sales or service counter a store clerk a grocery clerk
d : a person (such as a law school graduate) who provides a judge, magistrate, or lawyer with assistance in such matters as research, writing, and analysis : law clerk


clerked; clerking; clerks

Definition of clerk (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to act or work as a clerk clerked for a court judge

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Other Words from clerk


clerkship \ ˈklərk-​ˌship , British usually  ˈklärk-​ \ noun

Synonyms for clerk

Synonyms: Noun

register, registrar, scribe, secretary

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Examples of clerk in a Sentence


Have the court clerk file your request with the judge. He works as a clerk in a local pet store. a sales clerk at a women's clothing store
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

At the time, conservatives applauded the choice of the former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and vocal admirer of Antonin Scalia. Rebecca Ballhaus, WSJ, "Trump Names Neomi Rao to Kavanaugh’s Circuit Court Seat," 13 Nov. 2018 First diagnosed at age six, Veronin developed coping tricks over the ensuing decades, such as double-checking the color of a particular garment with the store clerk before purchasing. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Spanish scientists: EnChroma glasses won’t fix your color blindness," 6 Nov. 2018 The clerks will become the next generation of American lawyers and leaders, judges and senators. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Read the Full Transcript of Brett Kavanaugh's Opening Statement at Today's Hearing," 27 Sep. 2018 University of Louisville law professor Justin Walker, a former Kavanaugh clerk, said that’s not unusual for the judge. Dan Sewell, The Seattle Times, "Kavanaugh’s support for surveilling Americans raises concern," 27 Aug. 2018 Trump’s selection last year of Neil Gorsuch, another former Kennedy clerk, to replace Antonin Scalia was widely considered to be a not-so-subtle nod at the 81-year-old jurist that Trump would nominate a similar successor to him. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Did Anthony Kennedy make a deal with Trump?," 10 July 2018 Misha Tseytlin, the Wisconsin solicitor general and a former law clerk for Kennedy, disagreed with me by email. Michael Smerconish,, "The frustrating timing of Anthony Kennedy's retirement | Michael Smerconish," 3 July 2018 Now the former deputy clerk is the incumbent candidate looking to hold onto the office against an unusually crowded and bizarre field of 10 other Democrats seeking the job in the June 26 primary election. Ian Duncan,, "11 Democrats seek control of Baltimore courthouse in clerk's race — including some who've been in the building as criminal defendants," 15 June 2018 Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose July retirement opened the seat for Justice Kavanaugh, his former law clerk, attended. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is Hospitalized After Fall," 8 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Although generally conservative, Justice Kennedy—for whom Judge Kavanaugh once clerked—joined liberals in several high-profile areas, including expansion of gay rights and limitations on capital punishment. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Supreme Court Opens New Term Without Ninth Justice in Place," 30 Sep. 2018 Kethledge also was sworn in as a member of the Sixth Court of Appeals at U-M. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom Kethledge clerked, attended and spoke at the event. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "Possible Supreme Court pick Kethledge's ties to University of Michigan," 9 July 2018 Maybe another woman studied her ass off, made law review, and was a finalist to clerk at the Supreme Court—but was told nah, not this time, we like this other guy, whose parents both went to law school and whose mom is also a judge. Wendy Naugle, Glamour, "On Boys Being Boys: In What World Can We Forgive a Few High School Indiscretions?," 19 Sep. 2018 The 51-year-old judge earned his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Michigan, and, like Kavanaugh, once clerked for Justice Kennedy. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "Trump's Supreme Court Pick May Come From This List. Here's Where They Stand on Women's Issues.," 9 July 2018 Barrett had been a favorite of grassroots conservatives as a young female with strong religious views who honed her judicial philosophy clerking for Antonin Scalia. Maureen Groppe, Indianapolis Star, "Barrett passed over for high court, but Donnelly still faces tough choice," 9 July 2018 The President dwelled on Kavanaugh’s Ivy League credentials, which were a focus of Trump’s during the selection process, and the fact that, like Gorsuch, Kavanaugh had also clerked for Justice Kennedy. Brian Bennett, Time, "How President Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Could Change the U.S.," 10 July 2018 More than 40 of his law clerks have later clerked on the Supreme Court, working for justices across the ideological divide. Author: Greg Stohr And Andrew Harris, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is a Washington insider and regulation skeptic," 10 July 2018 The 53-year-old judge, who clerked for Justice Kennedy, arrives with a stellar reputation among conservatives, and gives Republicans the potential to change the balance of the court for years to come, reports CBS News' Jan Crawford. CBS News, "Brett Kavanaugh's views on presidential power could become focus with ongoing Russia probe," 10 July 2018

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1551, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for clerk

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French clerk & Old English cleric, clerc, both from Late Latin clericus, from Late Greek klērikos, from Greek klēros lot, inheritance (in allusion to Deuteronomy 18:2), stick of wood; akin to Greek klan to break — more at clast

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Statistics for clerk

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for clerk

The first known use of clerk was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for clerk



English Language Learners Definition of clerk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person whose job is to keep track of records and documents for a business or office

: an elected or appointed official whose job is to take care of official papers and business for a court or government

: a person who works in a store



English Language Learners Definition of clerk (Entry 2 of 2)

: to work as a clerk


\ ˈklərk \

Kids Definition of clerk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person whose job is to keep records or accounts
2 : a salesperson in a store


clerked; clerking

Kids Definition of clerk (Entry 2 of 2)

: to act or work as a clerk


\ ˈklərk \

Medical Definition of clerk

: a third- or fourth-year medical student undergoing clinical training in a clerkship

Other Words from clerk

clerk intransitive verb

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Legal Definition of clerk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an official responsible (as to a court) for correspondence, records, and accounts and having specified powers or authority (as to issue writs) a city clerk clerk of court
2a : a person employed to keep records or accounts or to perform general office work
b : a person (as a law student or graduate) employed by an attorney or judge to assist with case-related tasks (as research) — compare paralegal

Other Words from clerk

clerkship noun

Legal Definition of clerk (Entry 2 of 2)

: to act or work as a clerk clerked for a Supreme Court justice

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More from Merriam-Webster on clerk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clerk

Spanish Central: Translation of clerk

Nglish: Translation of clerk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clerk for Arabic Speakers

Comments on clerk

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


to gather or build up little by little

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