Definition of clergy in English:



  • [usually treated as plural] The body of all people ordained for religious duties, especially in the Christian Church.

    ‘all marriages were to be solemnized by the clergy’
    • ‘The pope is the bishop of Rome and was once elected by the clergy and laity of the city.’
    • ‘Invariably, he would publicly upbraid those members of the clergy he deemed to be unconverted.’
    • ‘He faced tremendous ignorance among the clergy and hostility towards the Reformation.’
    • ‘Vested interests and the clergy of both the communities made matters worse, he says.’
    • ‘They will be processed in the ordinary way, first of all through the local clergy.’
    • ‘Other groups such as the Gardai and the clergy have much shakier grounds for complaint.’
    • ‘He helped to draft a new catechism of the church to instruct parish clergy.’
    • ‘Lay readers and retired clergy have conducted services in the vicar's absence.’
    • ‘The churches knew about the behaviour of some of their clergy and other workers.’
    • ‘The mandate was eventually extended to teachers, social workers, and clergy in many states.’
    • ‘Only the Church of England clergy have a constitutional right to sit in the Lords.’
    • ‘The colleges provide sheltered housing for clergy widows and retired clergy.’
    • ‘Among the issues due to be discussed were the first set of guidelines for the conduct of Church of England clergy.’
    • ‘The clergy existed to minister to the faithful, and had no other justification.’
    • ‘This decline in the institution of the papacy made many members of the clergy impatient for reform.’
    • ‘Buddhist monks, Church of England clergy and crematorium staff all came under the spotlight.’
    • ‘He wondered what any of his teachers would do if he had done that to a member of the clergy.’
    • ‘He is one of the few clergy who knows everyone who lives in his parish.’
    • ‘Their wealth and close links with the clergy gives them enormous political power.’
    • ‘Sweden was free of religious dissent and the clergy constituted a further arm of central government.’
    clergymen, clergywomen, churchmen, churchwomen, clerics, priests, ecclesiastics, men of god, women of god, men of the cloth, women of the cloth
    ministry, priesthood, holy orders, the church, the cloth, first estate
    View synonyms


Middle English: from Old French, based on ecclesiastical Latin clericus clergyman (see cleric).