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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ The concern of Roman catholic clergy about the system was not without grounds.
▪ The Catholic clergy is sincere in its opposition to all abortion, by whatever procedure.
▪ The Catholic clergy became more exclusive as the Gregorian Reform was accomplished.
▪ It was the corruption of the Roman Catholic clergy in medieval times that paved the way for the Reformation.
▪ At all large services of a community nature he tried to ensure that both Protestant and Catholic clergy took part.
▪ The papal reform tended to drive a wedge between the educated, celibate higher clergy, and the rank and file.
▪ Moreover, some of the riots were incited by local High Church clergy and gentry.
▪ He was asking local people for money and also approached local clergy.
▪ A single nun, working in an unorthodox manner in the slums, made some of the local clergy distinctly uncomfortable.
▪ The saintly Vicar of Keyingham, Philip of Beverley, who did much for local clergy, was venerated as a saint.
▪ Moreover, some of the riots were incited by local High Church clergy and gentry.
▪ A January Party report in Roslavl' noted with glee that the local clergy were divided, even before the February decree.
▪ He was welcomed by the local clergy and a great number of other leading figures in the community.
▪ Parents, teachers, and local clergy are campaigning to have the decision reversed.
▪ The role of defending the Church was assumed by the lower clergy, their chief spokesman being Francis Atterbury.
▪ The household of the skilled potter became in income terms the equal of that of the lower clergy.
▪ Thus the liberalism of 1808 could hope for the support of the intelligent lower clergy.
▪ The concern of Roman catholic clergy about the system was not without grounds.
▪ It was the corruption of the Roman Catholic clergy in medieval times that paved the way for the Reformation.
▪ The policy of Decius's successor Valerian was to execute bishops and senior clergy so as to leave the Church leaderless.
▪ I think the idea was that a senior clergy should keep an eye on him, help him and so on.
▪ Theodora watched the senior clergy failing to respond.
▪ In recent years, the Kirk's senior clergy have consistently attacked Tory policies.
▪ All authority, both of chapter and parish clergy derives from the bishop.
▪ The parish clergy had to give up their concubines and accept a higher degree of accountability for performance of their duties.
▪ Very high among Innocent III's ambitions was the improvement of the parish clergy.
▪ Other monks of the house became parish clergy.
Wives shouldn't talk thus about their husbands, she thought resentfully, especially when they were clergy wives.
▪ We simply do not have the structures or the resources to give proper pastoral care to clergy wives.
▪ Between 60 and 70 percent of Salisbury's clergy wives now work, and the church hierarchy encourages them to.
▪ But while they defended against outsiders, a new enemy came from their own clergy ranks.
▪ He sets the clergy against each other in rivalry for his favours.
▪ In 1294-7, it has been calculated, the laity and clergy together yielded £280,000 in direct taxes to the king.
▪ It also provided approximately 40% of the stipends and housing costs of the 11,500 serving clergy.
▪ It was the corruption of the Roman Catholic clergy in medieval times that paved the way for the Reformation.
▪ Praise will be led by the clergy and choir of Holywood Parish Church.
▪ The saintly Vicar of Keyingham, Philip of Beverley, who did much for local clergy, was venerated as a saint.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Clergy \Cler"gy\, n. [OE. clergie, clergi, clerge, OF. clergie, F. clergie (fr. clerc clerc, fr. L. clericus priest) confused with OF. clergi['e], F. clerg['e], fr. LL. clericatus office of priest, monastic life, fr. L. clericus priest, LL. scholar, clerc. Both the Old French words meant clergy, in sense 1, the former having also sense 2. See Clerk.]

  1. The body of men set apart, by due ordination, to the service of God, in the Christian church, in distinction from the laity; in England, usually restricted to the ministers of the Established Church.

  2. Learning; also, a learned profession. [Obs.]

    Sophictry . . . rhetoric, and other cleargy.
    --Guy of Warwick.

    Put their second sons to learn some clergy.
    --State Papers (1515).

  3. The privilege or benefit of clergy.

    If convicted of a clergyable felony, he is entitled equally to his clergy after as before conviction.

    Benefit of clergy (Eng., Law), the exemption of the persons of clergymen from criminal process before a secular judge -- a privilege which was extended to all who could read, such persons being, in the eye of the law, clerici, or clerks. This privilege was abridged and modified by various statutes, and finally abolished in the reign of George IV. (1827).

    Regular clergy, Secular clergy See Regular, n., and Secular, a.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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 (n.));

  2. clergie "learning, knowledge, erudition," from clerc, also from Late Latin clericus. Meaning "persons ordained for religious work" is from c.1300.


n. Body of persons, such as ministers, sheiks, priests and rabbis, who are trained and ordained for religious service.


n. clergymen collectively (as distinguished from the laity) [ant: laity]


Clergy are some of the formal leaders within certain religions. The roles and functions of clergy vary in different religious traditions but these usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's doctrines and practices. Some of the terms used for individual clergy are cleric, clergyman, clergywoman, clergyperson, and churchman.

In Christianity the specific names and roles of clergy vary by denomination and there is a wide range of formal and informal clergy positions, including deacons, priests, reverends, bishops, preachers, pastors, ministers and the Pope. In Islam, a religious leader is often known formally or informally as an imam, mufti, mullah or ayatollah. In Jewish tradition, a religious leader is often a rabbi or hazzan (cantor).

Usage examples of "clergy".

Ponchartrain wrote to the bishop of Quebec to increase his pay out of the allowance furnished by the government to the Acadian clergy, because he, Thury, had persuaded the Abenakis to begin the war anew.

They contend for a spiritual creed and a spiritual worship: we have a Calvinistic creed, a Popish liturgy, and an Arminian clergy.

To Yaguaron the higher clergy flocked to intercede for the good people of Asuncion, all except Father Truxillo, who, knowing something of his Bishop, did not go.

Apologia, and the touching allusion in it to the devotedness of the Catholic clergy to the poor in seasons of pestilence reminds me that when the cholera raged so dreadfully at Bilston, and the two priests of the town were no longer equal to the number of cases to which they were hurried day and night, I asked you to lend me two fathers to supply the place of other priests whom I wished to send as a further aid.

There was a public procession in which took part the canons of the cathedral church, the clergy of the town, secular and regular, all walking barefoot.

I knew, though Bonaparte was not aware of the circumstance at the time, that Chateaubriand at first refused the situation, and that he was only induced to accept it by the entreaties of the head of the clergy, particularly of the Abby Emery, a man of great influence.

Is it quite sure that New England Congregationalism would have been in all respects worse off if Channing and his friends had continued to be recognized as the Liberal wing of its clergy?

Presbyterian Church and the Congregationalist clergy of the little colony of Connecticut seems like a disproportioned one.

In no country with the exception of Czarist Russia did the clergy become by tradition so completely servile to the political authority of the State.

I suppose the leading Distributist among the clergy was Father Vincent McNabb and I have heard him called a Socialist a hundred times.

Nonetheless, he is correct about the modern clergy believing these opposing documents are false testimony.

But in an emergency situation, the clergy of the Roman diocese elects its own bishop.

The Inquisition was reinstituted, as were the privileges of the nobility, clergy, and military, and a heartless persecution was unleashed against dissidents, opponents, liberals, Francophiles, and former collaborators in the government of Joseph Bonaparte.

The Strasburg clergy, in losing him, wrote that he was unsurpassed among men, and the Genevese felt his superiority and put him on the commission which revised the Constitution.

With the Crusade underway at last, such travel is greatly restricted, and most of it is controlled by the Knights Hospitaler, which makes things especially difficult, for recently they have given preferential escort to clergy and other religious.