• synonyms


[kler-i-kuh l]
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  1. of, pertaining to, appropriate for, or assigned to an office clerk or clerks: a clerical job.
  2. doing the work of a clerk or clerks: a clerical assistant; a clerical staff.
  3. of, relating to, or characteristic of the clergy or a member of the clergy: clerical garb.
  4. advocating the power or influence of the clergy in politics, government, etc.: a clerical party.
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  1. a cleric.
  2. clericals, Informal. clerical garments.
  3. a person or a party advocating the power or influence of the church in politics, government, etc.
  4. a person who does clerical work; office worker; clerk.
  5. Also called clerical error. a minor error, as in the keeping of records, the transcribing of documents, or the handling of correspondence.
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Origin of clerical

1425–75 for sense “learned”; 1585–95 for def 3; late Middle English < Late Latin clēricālis, equivalent to clēric(us) cleric + -ālis -al1
Related formscler·i·cal·i·ty, nouncler·i·cal·ly, adverbin·ter·cler·i·cal, adjectivenon·cler·i·cal, adjective, nounnon·cler·i·cal·ly, adverbpre·cler·i·cal, adjectivepro·cler·i·cal, adjectivepseu·do·cler·i·cal, adjectivepseu·do·cler·i·cal·ly, adverbqua·si-cler·i·cal, adjectivequa·si-cler·i·cal·ly, adverbsem·i·cler·i·cal, adjectivesem·i·cler·i·cal·ly, adverbun·cler·i·cal, adjectiveun·cler·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for clericals

Historical Examples

  • The real desire of the Clericals was an alteration of the school The Clericals.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 1


  • Blanco was recalled, and Poliavieja, a sworn friend of the clericals, was sent out.

  • On her grave he had vowed eternal hostility to the nobles and the clericals.

    The Countess of Charny

    Alexandre Dumas (pere)

  • Throughout, the Monarchists and the Clericals work together or are identical.

  • Like Bismarck, he in turn fought and conciliated the Clericals.

British Dictionary definitions for clericals


pl n
  1. the distinctive dress of a member of the clergy
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  1. relating to or associated with the clergyclerical dress
  2. of or relating to office clerks or their worka clerical error
  3. supporting or advocating clericalism
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Derived Formsclerically, adverb
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 clericals



1590s, "pertaining to the clergy," from cleric + -al (1), or from French clérical, from Old French clerigal "learned," from Latin clericalis, from clericus (see cleric). Meaning "pertaining to clerks" is from 1798.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper