See also: Clerk

English

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Etymology

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From Middle English clerc, from Old English clerc, from Late Latin clēricus (priest, clergyman, cleric”, also generally “learned man, clerk), from Ancient Greek κληρικός (klērikós, of the clergy, adj. in church jargon), from κλῆρος (klêros, lot, inheritance”, originally “shard used in casting lots). Doublet of cleric.

Pronunciation

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Noun

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clerk (plural clerks)

  1. One who occupationally provides assistance by working with records, accounts, letters, etc.; an office worker.
    • 1879, W[illiam] S[chwenck] Gilbert, Arthur Sullivan, composer, “When I Was a Lad”, in H.M.S. Pinafore;  [], San Francisco: Bacon & Company,  [], →OCLC, page 10:
      As office boy I made such a mark
      That they gave me the post of a junior clerk.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate [], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], →OCLC:
      Thus, when he drew up instructions in lawyer language, he expressed the important words by an initial, a medial, or a final consonant, and made scratches for all the words between; his clerks, however, understood him very well.
    1. A salesclerk; a person who serves customers in a store or market.
    2. A law clerk.
    3. An employee at a hotel who deals with guests.
    4. The chief legal advisor of a legislature or legislative chamber, who is usually also responsible for keeping minutes of sittings.
  2. (Quakerism) A facilitator of a Quaker meeting for business affairs.
  3. (archaic) In the Church of England, the layman that assists in the church service, especially in reading the responses (also called parish clerk).
  4. (dated) A cleric or clergyman (the legal title for clergy of the Church of England is "Clerk in Holy Orders", still used in legal documents and cherished by some of their number).
  5. (obsolete) A scholar.
    • 13th century, Traditional carol,
      And all was for an appel, an appel that he toke/As clerkès finden written in their boke.

Synonyms

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Derived terms

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Translations

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Verb

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clerk (third-person singular simple present clerks, present participle clerking, simple past and past participle clerked)

  1. To act as a clerk, to perform the duties or functions of a clerk.
    The law school graduate clerked for the supreme court judge for the summer.
    • 1908 July 4, “Iceman’s Boss Was Easy. How Needles Put the Jeweler Next to a Winner and an Accomodating[sic] Bookie. [New York Press.]”, in The Cincinnati Enquirer, volume LXV, number 186, page 13, column 6:
      He turned to a more attentive audience, and found it in the young fellow they called The Iceman, because he clerked in the swell jewelry store around the corner, and was always there with the finger advertisement for his boss’s diamondware.
    • 1934, George Orwell, chapter 1, in Burmese Days[1]:
      [] for three years he had worked in the stinking labyrinth of the Mandalay bazaars, clerking for the rice merchants and sometimes stealing.
    • 1956, Jean Stafford, "A Reading Problem" in The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford, New York: E.P. Dutton, 1984, p. 332,
      In the winter, they lived in a town called Hoxie, Arkansas, where Evangelist Gerlash clerked in the Buttorf drugstore and preached and baptized on the side.

Further reading

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