Word Origin & History
1620s, from L.L. clericus "clergyman, priest" (4c.), lit. "belonging to the clerus;" from Gk. klerikos, originally "pertaining to an inheritance," in Christian use "pertaining to the ecclesiastical order," from kleros "lot, allotment, piece of land, heritage," which was in Church use from 2c. (see
). A word taken up in Mod.Eng. after clerk took its modern meaning.