Definitions

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

  • n. A person who works in an office performing such tasks as keeping records, attending to correspondence, or filing.
  • n. A person who keeps the records and performs the regular business of a court, legislative body, or municipal district.
  • n. Law A law clerk, as for a judge.
  • n. A person who works at a sales counter or service desk, as at a store or hotel.
  • n. A cleric.
  • n. Archaic A scholar.
  • intransitive v. To work or serve as a clerk: clerked in a store; clerks for a judge.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who occupationally works with records, accounts, letters, etc.; an office worker.
  • n. A facilitator of a Quaker meeting for business affairs
  • n. In the Church of England, the layman that assists in the church service, especially in reading the responses (also called parish clerk).
  • v. To act as a clerk, to perform the duties or functions of a clerk

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A clergyman or ecclesiastic.
  • n. A man who could read; a scholar; a learned person; a man of letters.
  • n. A parish officer, being a layman who leads in reading the responses of the Episcopal church service, and otherwise assists in it.
  • n. One employed to keep records or accounts; a scribe; an accountant.
  • n. An assistant in a shop or store.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To write; compose.
  • To serve as a clerk; act as accountant or salesman: frequently used in the phrase to clerk it.
  • n. A clergyman; a priest; an ecclesiastic; a man in holy orders.
  • n. A learned man; a man of letters; a scholar; a writer or author; originally, a man who could read, an attainment at one time confined chiefly to ecclesiastics.
  • n. The layman who leads in reading the responses in the service of the Church of England. Also called parish clerk.
  • n. An officer of a court, legislature, municipal corporation, or other body, whose duty generally is to keep the records of the body to which he is attached, and perform the routine business: as, clerk of court; town clerk; clerk to a school-board, etc. See secretary.
  • n. One who is employed in an office, public or private, or in a shop or warehouse, to keep records or accounts; one who is employed by another as a writer or amanuensis.
  • n. In the United States, an assistant in business, whether or not a keeper of accounts; especially, a retail salesman.
  • n. In the United States, a popular name for the head of the meteorological department of the Signal Service.

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

  • n. an employee who performs clerical work (e.g., keeps records or accounts)
  • n. a salesperson in a store
  • v. work as a clerk, as in the legal business

Etymologies

Middle English, clergyman, secretary, from Old English clerc and Old French clerc, clergyman, both from Late Latin clēricus, from Greek klērikos, belonging to the clergy, from klēros, inheritance, lot.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English clerc, from Old English clerc, from Late Latin clēricus ("a priest, clergyman, cleric, also generally a learned man, clerk"), from Ancient Greek κληρικός (klērikos, "(adj. in church jargon) of the clergy"), from κλῆρος (klēros, "lot, inheritance, originally "a shard used in casting lots".") (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • I am a clerk

    May 17, 2009

  • v.i. work as a clerk – I've never come across this verbal use before. (OED marks it as colloquial now, but has examples back to 1551.)

    I can remember all the tenants of the front room upstairs, who came and went: Vernie, who clerked in a store; the fabulous Doc Marlowe, who made and sold Sioux Liniment and wore a ten-gallon hat with kitchen matches stuck in the band; the blonde and mysterious Mrs Lane, of the strong perfume and the elegant dresses; Mr Richardson, a guard at the penitentiary, who kept a gun in his room; and a silent, thin, smiling man who never revealed his business and left with his rent two weeks in arrears.
    —James Thurber, 1952, 'Daguerreotype of a Lady', in The Thurber Album

    July 10, 2008