One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An official in a church who acts as a caretaker and attendant.
- ‘He went to see the vicar at St Michaels, who just listened and smiled as he poured tea, then offered him a part-time job as a verger.’
- ‘A city centre church verger has the power to summon scores of police and dozens of security guards at the touch of a button.’
- ‘A verger accidentally locked up without realising that Mr Poole, a former chief general manager with the Norwich Building Society, was still inside.’
- ‘For example, the doorkeeper did most of the jobs we would now associate with the modern verger.’
- ‘Mr Angus had joined the Minster staff in October 1980 as part of a team of vergers who help with the day-to-day running of the cathedral.’
- ‘Colleagues and friends of the verger, who had worked at the Minster for 25 years, have been quietly reflecting on his life.’
2An officer who carries a rod before a bishop or dean as a symbol of office.
- ‘I was the last verger of the Garrison Church and took part in the final service.’
- ‘Church officials gave more details yesterday about a popular verger who plunged more than 100 ft to his death from York Minster on Sunday.’
- ‘Only the old verger allows himself no rest, and still rings the service in and out.’
- ‘He has resigned with immediate effect but will continue with some of his tasks until a new verger is found.’
Middle English (in verger (sense 2)): from Anglo-Norman French (see verge).
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