Etymology
Advertisement
clerical (adj.)

1590s, "pertaining to the clergy," from cleric + -al (1), or from French clérical, from Old French clerigal "learned," from Latin clericalis, from clericus (see cleric). Meaning "pertaining to clerks and copyists" is from 1798.

Clericalism "sacerdotalism, power or influence of the clergy" is from 1849. Clericality "quality of being clerical" is from 1650s.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
ghostly (adj.)
Old English gastlic "spiritual, holy, not of the flesh; clerical;" also "supernatural, spectral, pertaining to or characteristic of a ghost;" see ghost (n.) + -ly (1). Related: Ghostliness.
Related entries & more 
acne (n.)
skin eruption common during puberty, 1813, from Modern Latin, from aknas, a 6c. Latin clerical misreading of Greek akmas, accusative plural of akme "point" (see acme), from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce." The "pointed" pimples are the source of the medical use.
Related entries & more 
beret (n.)
also berret, "round, flat, woolen cap," originally worn by Basque peasants, 1827 as a fashionable accessory, from French béret, 19c., from dialect of Béarn, from Old Gascon berret "cap," from Medieval Latin birretum, diminutive of Late Latin birrus "a large hooded cloak," a word perhaps of Gaulish origin. For the clerical version, see biretta.
Related entries & more 
irregularity (n.)
early 14c., "violation of Church rules governing admission to clerical office," from Old French irregularité (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin irregularitas "irregularity," from irregularis "not regular" (see irregular (adj.)). Meaning "that which is irregular" is from late 15c.; sense of "state of non-conformity to rule" is from 1590s; meaning "want of symmetry" is from 1640s.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
messuage (n.)

legal term for "a dwelling house," late 14c., (late 13c. in Anglo-Latin), from Anglo-French messuage, which probably is a clerical error for mesnage (see menage). Originally the portion of land set aside for a dwelling-house and outbuildings, whether occupied by them or not; later chiefly in reference to the house and buildings and the attached land.

Related entries & more 
clergywoman (n.)

1670s, "a nun," from clergy + woman on the model of clergyman. Not seriously as "woman pastor, woman of the clerical profession" until 1871; in between it was used humorously for "old woman" or "domineering wife of a clergyman." Clergess as "member of a female religious order" is attested from late 14c.; clergy-feme as "clergyman's wife or woman" is attested from 1580s.

Related entries & more 
civilian (n.)

late 14c., "judge or authority on civil law," from noun use of Old French civilien "of the civil law," created from Latin civilis "relating to a citizen, relating to public life, befitting a citizen; popular, affable, courteous," alternative adjectival derivative of civis "townsman" (see city). Sense of "non-military and non-clerical person, one whose pursuits are those of civilian life" is attested by 1766. As an adjective, "pertaining to or characteristic of a civilian," from 1640s.

Related entries & more 
ministry (n.)

c. 1200, ministerie, "the office or function of a priest, a position in a church or monastery; service in matters of religion," from Old French menistere "service, ministry; position, post, employment" and directly from Latin ministerium "office, service, attendance, ministry," from minister "inferior, servant, priest's assistant" (see minister (n.)).

From late 14c. as "personal service or aid." From 1560s as "the body of ministers of religion, the clerical class." From 1710 as "the body of ministers of state in a country." It began to be used 1916 in the names of certain departments in the British government.

Related entries & more 
penance (n.)

c. 1300, penaunce, "religious discipline or self-mortification as a token of repentance and as atonement for some sin; sorrow for sin shown by outward acts under authority and regulation of the Church," from Anglo-French penaunce, Old French peneance (12c.), from Latin pænitentia "repentance," noun of condition from pænitentum (nominative pænitens) "penitent," present participle of pænitere "cause or feel regret," probably originally "is not enough, is unsatisfactory," from pæne "nearly, almost, practically," which is of uncertain origin. Transferred sense of "repentance, contrition" is recorded from c. 1300. A popular Old French form, later ousted by the clerical pénitence, which preserves more of the Latin word.

Related entries & more