American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The body of people ordained for religious service. See Usage Note at collective noun.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A body of men set apart and consecrated by due ordination to the duties of public ministration in the Christian church; the body of ecclesiastics, in distinction from the laity.
- n. The privilege or benefit of clergy. See below.
- n. Persons connected with the clerical profession or the religious orders.
- n. Learning; erudition.
- n. Sometimes applied to the ecclesiastics, ministers, and priests of non-Christian religious systems.
- n. Body of persons, such as ministers, priests and rabbis, who are trained and ordained for religious service.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The body of men set apart, by due ordination, to the service of God, in the Christian church, in distinction from the laity; in England, usually restricted to the ministers of the Established Church.
- n. obsolete Learning; also, a learned profession.
- n. The privilege or benefit of clergy.
- n. in Christianity, clergymen collectively (as distinguished from the laity)
- Attested in the 13th Century CE; from clergie, from Old French clergié ("learned men"), from Latin clericatus, from Latin clericus ("one ordained for religious services"), from Ancient Greek κληρικός (klērikos, "of the clergy"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English clergie, from Old French (from Vulgar Latin *clercīa, from Late Latin clēricus; see clerk) and from Old French clergié, body of clerks (from Vulgar Latin *clercātus, from Late Latin clēricātus, from clēricus, clerk, cleric). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“But ascetics, nuns, and unordained members of religious associations of men were not originally in the ranks of the clergy, and, strictly speaking, are not so even to-day, though, on account of their closer and more special dependence on ecclesiastical authority, they have long been included under the title clergy in its wider sense (see RELIGIOUS).”
“First, the word "clergy" is essential to any understanding of what the Supreme Court did in the Hosanna-Tabor case, because that word has a special meaning in the Court's constitutional perception.”
“The function of the clergy is essential and irreplaceable in announcing the Word and celebrating the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. ...”
“For the past 20 months these non-ACoC clergy and lay leaders have excluded ACoC clergy from the building.”
“In the London and Southwark dioceses, up to one in five clergy is thought to be gay, according to Canon Giles Goddard, co-founder of the lobby group Inclusive Church.”
“As clergy from a broad spectrum of religious traditions we hold diverse views regarding marriage.”
“Presiding over the debate, gently — too gently? — prodding the communion toward acceptance of gay clergy, is Rowan Williams, the brilliant and beleaguered archbishop of Canterbury.”
“Finally, we must continue to develop better methods with which to train clergy and other communal leaders so that they are equipped to guide their communities through the unique set of opportunities and challenges presented by America and only America.”
“The role of the clergy is to observe and advise the government.”
“What business does this person have attacking Obama for having relationships with certain clergy members?”
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