1. in Christianity, clergymen collectively (as distinguished from the laity)
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.]
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.
2. Learning; also, a learned profession. [Obs.]
Sophictry . . . rhetoric, and other cleargy. --Guy
Put their second sons to learn some clergy. --State
3. The privilege or benefit of clergy.
If convicted of a clergyable felony, he is entitled
equally to his clergy after as before conviction.
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
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: in Christianity, clergymen collectively (as distinguished
from the laity) [ant: laity, temporalty]