Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Educated people considered as a group; the literati.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An elite group of intellectuals; learned people, the literati.
  • n. The clergy, or their opinions, as opposed to the laity.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The literati, or well educated class.
  • n. The clergy, or their opinions, as opposed to the laity.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The clergy, as distinguished from the laity.
  • n. A body of clerks or learned men; the literati.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an educated and intellectual elite

Etymologies

German Klerisei, clergy, from Medieval Latin clēricia, from Late Latin clēricus, priest; see clerk.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Introduced by Coleridge, apparently after German Clerisei; in late Latin clericia. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • One area in which the new "third sector"/quangocrat establishment dominates is innovation investment - it has become a powerful new class, for whom talking about innovation has largely replaced innovation itself. And here, it insists on taking control.
    'Amazingly, the rise of this micro-managing technocratic priesthood was predicted some 40 years ago by historian Daniel Bell. This academic-bureaucratic class even has a name: American sociologist Joel Kotkin calls it a "Clerisy". The Clerisy benefits, Kotkin explains, by increasing its role in directing investment - often to pet projects and causes.'

    December 13, 2013

  • KLER-uh-see\, noun:
    The well educated class; the intelligentsia.

    March 23, 2007