Definition of clerical in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈklɛrɪk(ə)l/


1Concerned with or relating to work in an office, especially routine documentation and administrative tasks: a clerical assistant clerical duties
More example sentences
  • Under the reforms, support assistants took over 24 clerical and routine tasks from teachers when the new term began last week.
  • They also refuse to carry out clerical, administrative and porter duties.
  • The work tasks varied from foundry work and heavy engineering to precision engineering and clerical and administrative work.
2Relating to the clergy: he was still attired in his clerical outfit
More example sentences
  • As many have observed, clerical and especially episcopal accountability is a complex matter.
  • This shift is most striking in the more clerical churches, the Anglican and Roman Catholic.
  • There is a huge difference between clerical reform of the church and lay renewal of the church.
holy, divine
archaic vicarial
rare sacerdotal, hieratic, rectorial, presbyteral



Pronunciation: /ˈklɛrɪk(ə)ˌlɪz(ə)m/
sense 2.
Example sentences
  • The revolutionaries of 1789 fought in the name of secularism against the clericalism of feudal society, and enacted a firm separation of church and state.
  • In the past, as a reaction to clericalism, we have sometimes expected our priests to be ‘one of the guys,’ and perhaps this is where we have erred.
  • It is simply clericalism to suggest that religious leaders and public intellectuals ‘own’ the just war tradition in a singular way.


Pronunciation: /ˈklɛrɪk(ə)lɪst/
sense 2.
Example sentences
  • As a young adult, his activities led to his being pursued by clericalists and monarchists alike, and he had to take refuge outside France.
  • As this work goes forward, it will be essential to set aside the clericalist mentality that raises obstacles to clear thinking.
  • The clericalist career pattern of ‘promotion’ to a larger and more prominent diocese or archdiocese should be abandoned.


Example sentences
  • They doggedly believe that EC should just clerically run the elections which must be ordered by them, for their benefit, at their convenience.
  • They are laying the pillars of a new, clerically protected democratic order.
  • This new government, however, managed to alienate the native population by seizing clerically held lands, closing religious schools, and abolishing shariat courts.


Late 15th century (in sense 2): from ecclesiastical Latin clericalis, from clericus 'clergyman' (see cleric).

Words that rhyme with clerical

chimerical, hemispherical, hysterical, numerical, spherical

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cler|ic¦al

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