[ klur-jee ]
/ ˈklɜr dʒi /

noun, plural cler·gies.

the group or body of ordained persons in a religion, as distinguished from the laity.

Nearby words

  1. cleptocracy,
  2. cleptomania,
  3. cleptomaniac,
  4. clerc,
  5. clerestory,
  6. clergy, benefit of,
  7. clergyman,
  8. clergyperson,
  9. clergywoman,
  10. cleric

Origin of clergy

1175–1225; Middle English clerge, clergie < Old French clergé (< Late Latin clericātus office of a priest; see cleric, -ate3), clergie, equivalent to clerc cleric + -ie -y3, with -g- after clergé

Related formscler·gy·like, adjectivean·ti·cler·gy, adjectivepro·cler·gy, adjective

Can be confusedclergy cleric imam minister pastor priest rabbi

Usage note Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for clergy

British Dictionary definitions for clergy


/ (ˈklɜːdʒɪ) /

noun plural -gies

the collective body of men and women ordained as religious ministers, esp of the Christian ChurchRelated adjectives: clerical, pastoral

Word Origin for clergy

C13: from Old French clergie, from clerc ecclesiastic, clerk

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for clergy



c.1200, clergie "office or dignity of a clergyman," from two Old French words: 1. clergié "clerics, learned men," from Medieval Latin clericatus, from Late Latin clericus (see clerk); 2. clergie "learning, knowledge, erudition," from clerc, also from Late Latin clericus. Meaning "persons ordained for religious work" is from c.1300.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper