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[klur-jee] /ˈklɜr dʒi/
noun, plural clergies.
the group or body of ordained persons in a religion, as distinguished from the laity.
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 forms
clergylike, adjective
anticlergy, adjective
proclergy, adjective
Can be confused
Usage note Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for clergy


noun (pl) -gies
the collective body of men and women ordained as religious ministers, esp of the Christian Church related adjectives clerical pastoral
Word Origin
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
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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
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