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

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

clergylike, adjective
anticlergy, adjective
proclergy, adjective

clergy, cleric, imam, minister, pastor, priest, rabbi.

See collective noun. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
clergy (ˈklɜːdʒɪ)
n , pl -gies
the collective body of men and women ordained as religious ministers, esp of the Christian ChurchRelated: clerical, pastoral
Related: clerical, pastoral
[C13: from Old French clergie, from clerc ecclesiastic, clerk]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

c.1200, clergie "office or dignity of a clergyman," from two O.Fr. words: 1. clergie "clerics, learned men," from M.L. clericatus, from L. clericus (see clerk); 2. clergie "learning," from clerc, also from L. clericus.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


a body of ordained ministers in a Christian church. In the Roman Catholic Church and in the Church of England, the term includes the orders of bishop, priest, and deacon. Until 1972, in the Roman Catholic Church, clergy also included several lower orders

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
As he neared graduation he was still noodling over whether to join the clergy,
  allowing his father to push him slowly closer.
The movie has already sparked criticism from archaeologists and clergy alike.
The picture which the author draws of the principate and of the clergy is
  almost without relief in its blackness.
Among the clergy, there was much ignorance, servility and pragmatism.
Image for clergy
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