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Search Result for "benefit of clergy":
Wordnet 3.0

NOUN (1)

1. sanction by a religious rite;
- Example: "they are living together without benefit of clergy"

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Benefit \Ben"e*fit\, n. [OE. benefet, benfeet, bienfet, F. bienfait, fr. L. benefactum; bene well (adv. of bonus good) + factum, p. p. of facere to do. See Bounty, and Fact.] 1. An act of kindness; a favor conferred. [1913 Webster] Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. --Ps. ciii. 2. [1913 Webster] 2. Whatever promotes prosperity and personal happiness, or adds value to property; advantage; profit. [1913 Webster] Men have no right to what is not for their benefit. --Burke. [1913 Webster] 3. A theatrical performance, a concert, or the like, the proceeds of which do not go to the lessee of the theater or to the company, but to some individual actor, or to some charitable use. [1913 Webster] 4. Beneficence; liberality. [Obs.] --Webster (1623). [1913 Webster] 5. pl. Natural advantages; endowments; accomplishments. [R.] "The benefits of your own country." --Shak. [1913 Webster] Benefit of clergy. (Law) See under Clergy. [1913 Webster] Syn: Profit; service; use; avail. See Advantage. [1913 Webster]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Clergy \Cler"gy\, n. [OE. clergie, clergi, clerge, OF. clergie, F. clergie (fr. clerc clerc, fr. L. clericus priest) confused with OF. clergi['e], F. clerg['e], fr. LL. clericatus office of priest, monastic life, fr. L. clericus priest, LL. scholar, clerc. Both the Old French words meant clergy, in sense 1, the former having also sense 2. See Clerk.] [1913 Webster] 1. 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. --Hooker. [1913 Webster] 2. Learning; also, a learned profession. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Sophictry . . . rhetoric, and other cleargy. --Guy of Warwick. [1913 Webster] Put their second sons to learn some clergy. --State Papers (1515). [1913 Webster] 3. The privilege or benefit of clergy. [1913 Webster] If convicted of a clergyable felony, he is entitled equally to his clergy after as before conviction. --Blackstone. [1913 Webster] Benefit of clergy (Eng., Law), the exemption of the persons of clergymen from criminal process before a secular judge -- a privilege which was extended to all who could read, such persons being, in the eye of the law, clerici, or clerks. This privilege was abridged and modified by various statutes, and finally abolished in the reign of George IV. (1827). Regular clergy, Secular clergy See Regular, n., and Secular, a. [1913 Webster]
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):

benefit of clergy n 1: sanction by a religious rite; "they are living together without benefit of clergy"
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):

BENEFIT OF CLERGY, English law. An exemption of the punishment of death which the laws impose on the commission of certain crimes, on the culprit demanding it. By modern statute's, benefit of clergy was rather a substitution of a more mild punishment for the punishment of death. 2. It was lately granted, not only to the clergy, as was formerly the case, but to all persons. The benefit of clergy seems never to have been extended to the crime of high treason, nor to have embraced misdemeanors inferior to felony. Vide 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 667 to 668 4 Bl. Com. ch. 28. But this privilege improperly given to the clergy, because they had more learning than others) is now abolished by stat. 7 Geo. IV. c. 28, s. 6. 3. By the Act of Congress of April 30, 1790, it is provided, Sec. 30, that the benefit of clergy shall not be used or allowed, upon conviction of any crime, for which, by any statute of the United States, the punishment is, or shall be declared to be, death.