Meaning of clerk in English:


Pronunciation /klɑːk/

See synonyms for clerk

Translate clerk into Spanish


  • 1A person employed in an office or bank to keep records, accounts, and undertake other routine administrative duties.

    ‘a bank clerk’
    • ‘a wages clerk’
    • ‘Many male artistes feel constrained to continue as bank clerks or chartered accountants, even though they know that a career in music demands full-time effort.’
    • ‘In one exercise, they caught a solicitor, a doctor, two bank clerks and an accountant for ‘short fares’.’
    • ‘Most intriguing of all will be the many guns lurking around the Mound from the days when bank clerks routinely settled disputes with their customers by fighting a duel.’
    • ‘Seraph signed the paperwork for the clerk to bill her bank account, having nowhere near the amount in ready cash, and they prepared to take the bed to the apartment.’
    • ‘Cantillon employed clerks in his bank - professional copyists and document preparers - who could have made copies in their spare time.’
    • ‘Ultimately, it will reduce the demand for bank clerks, but that doesn't mean bank clerks will go unemployed.’
    • ‘The option of personal interaction between the customer and the bank clerk should be preserved and indeed improved.’
    • ‘This group included working mothers, copy editors, loggers, divorcées, construction workers, cashiers, field hands, bank clerks, tailors.’
    • ‘What could distinguish one store clerk from another, or even a bank clerk?’
    • ‘Thousands of police officers, railway conductors and bank clerks attend Samsung's ‘Service Academy’ to learn to bow and answer customer questions.’
    • ‘The trio arrived at the bank around 9: 40 am when there were only five bank clerks and two customers inside.’
    • ‘His bank has to fly the slip of paper cross-country to your bank so clerks there can look it over.’
    • ‘I suggest that we sit down for a moment on a nearby bench, which is miraculously free of dossers and bank clerks.’
    • ‘Provincial bank clerks who haven't had a promotion in 10 years are not the stuff of legend.’
    • ‘‘The bank clerk was very helpful, he promised to help us,’ Lateera said slowly.’
    • ‘Jean, a young man who works as a bank clerk, is invited to the casino by a friend and promptly wins big at roulette.’
    • ‘He presented the photo-card and a partially-completed withdrawal slip for £4,800 to a bank clerk, who became suspicious.’
    • ‘A bank clerk who stole more than £39,000 from the branch where she worked has been jailed for 15 months.’
    • ‘For a bank clerk, hairdresser, or singer, the manner in which the service is produced is an essential element of the total promotion of the service.’
    • ‘A Croatian bank robber was so humiliated that he ran away after a bank clerk just laughed at him when he tried to rob them.’
    office worker, clerical worker, administrator, administrative officer
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1An official in charge of the records of a local council or court.
      ‘a clerk to the magistrates’
      • ‘If York's soldiers wish to really shine on the parade ground, they should take lessons from the barristers and solicitors' clerks at York Crown Court.’
      • ‘To get information about the Small Claims process and the dollar limitations that apply, contact the court clerk at your local courthouse.’
      • ‘Anyone can file a complaint for judicial misconduct with the clerk of the federal court of appeals for the circuit in which a given judge sits.’
      • ‘She spent several years as a dispatcher for the Pender County, N.C., sheriff's office and a year as a clerk of the county court.’
      • ‘Information and training must be given to people so that they will know how to approach magistrate court clerks.’
      • ‘It was an unseemly episode, the prosecutor forcing clerks to interrupt court business because he wanted space for his staff.’
      • ‘Due to the large numbers of those indicted, the court clerks eventually tired of writing the charge in full and began to abbreviate it.’
      • ‘It clearly does not mean a place where a clerk presides over a court on the record and purports to deal with matters that are before the court for plea and disposition.’
      • ‘It appears from an affidavit by the court clerk that two cases were scheduled for hearing that day, including the case which is the subject of this application for judicial review.’
      • ‘A lawyer with a pending lawsuit asks the clerk of the court for a stack of blank subpoenas.’
      • ‘The clerk of the court had made the following entries in his log.’
      • ‘The Council revoked the authority of district and circuit court clerks to issue marriage licenses.’
      • ‘The certificate, when endorsed, goes to the clerk of the court.’
      • ‘I'll be talking with two authors and former clerks of the Supreme Court next.’
      • ‘He had immigrated to Israel in 1947, and had been employed as a clerk in a municipal office throughout his working years in Israel.’
      • ‘The courts employ 60 clerks who act as legal advisers to magistrates.’
      • ‘Official marriages, officiated by either religious authorities or by municipal clerks or judges, must be dissolved by the legal procedure of divorce.’
      • ‘The court, usually presided over by peers, had professional lawyers as clerks.’
      • ‘The clerks, who prepared legal documents, registered deeds, and issued licences, were commoners who did not own property, hold degrees, or belong to the elite gentry families.’
      • ‘There, as the only female clerk employed, she was paid the full male rate at a time when most women received only 54 per cent of a male wage.’
    2. 1.2A senior official in Parliament.
      ‘Under Scottish parliament rules, clerks do not help draft bills connected with areas which the Executive is already legislating or consulting on.’
      • ‘Finally the clerk of Parliament came to inform him that someone was on the way.’
      • ‘Holyrood staff such as parliamentary clerks and librarians will also be able to claim for part of the cost of gym, health club and sports club membership.’
      • ‘The most likely performance space would be the central area occupied by the desks of the Presiding Officer and his four parliamentary clerks.’
      • ‘According to a parliamentary clerk, there are over a thousand bills languishing before the National Assembly.’
      • ‘Paul, the parliament's clerk and chief executive, is convener of the SPBE board.’
      • ‘By then the minister had also acquired the help of a powerful official, the first clerk of finances, as well as a dozen other senior clerks and several principal secretaries directing bureaux.’
      • ‘Manning said the clerks of the T & T Parliament had been known to perform their duties with a high level of impartiality, and were outstanding in the region for this.’
    3. 1.3A lay officer of a cathedral, parish church, college chapel, etc.
      ‘a chapter clerk’
      • ‘In Leeds boy choristers and lay clerks from the parish church and pupils from St Peter's Church of England Primary School took part.’
      • ‘This was about the clerk of that parish, whose wife used to wash the parson's surplices.’
      • ‘It has involved the resignation of the cathedral chapter clerk, bursar and organist.’
      • ‘Now a lay clerk in Worcester Cathedral, he also conducts and tours his own chamber choir.’
      • ‘He is also a singing teacher at Manchester Grammar School and a lay clerk at Manchester Cathedral.’
      • ‘I have contacted the clerks of both the parish and town councils which will be affected.’
      • ‘When I finally found an adult in the crowd, she directed me to Susan, the clerk of the church ‘session.’’
      • ‘The superintendent of the Sunday School and the church clerk were also men.’
      • ‘The chapter clerk said: ‘We are not putting out any statement until after a meeting of the cathedral council on Monday.’’
      • ‘The clerk to the Wimbish Parish Council said she believed the whole village would be saddened by the deaths.’
      • ‘Before going to school George was also taught by the clerk in his father's parish in Skreen.’
      • ‘He had served on Ryedale District Council since 1991 and was clerk to Sheriff Hutton Parish Council for almost 48 years.’
      • ‘They have served as Sunday School superintendent, church secretary, and church clerk.’
      • ‘Quite a number of the latter were educated and were employed by the Church in various intellectual occupations such as catechists, clerks and doctors.’
      • ‘‘People had been writing secret letters for three years,’ says a former church clerk.’
      • ‘She was also clerk of Little Ouseburn parish council for 27 years.’
  • 2

    (also desk clerk)
    mainly North American A receptionist in a hotel.

    ‘she approached the desk and the clerk looked down at her’
    • ‘The desk clerk at the hotel lied to the representative and claimed there were no picketers, but the customer service representative could hear the bullhorns over the phone.’
    • ‘We got our instructions from the hotel desk clerk, a blond beauty, whom we watched deftly handle business in Dutch, English, German and Spanish.’
    • ‘We could go to the beach today and tonight ask the hotel desk clerk to arrange a boat.’
    • ‘One of the figures was the familiar desk clerk from the hotel.’
    • ‘At night, he is a desk clerk at a multinational hotel watching all that come and go, having to chew on a medicinal root to stay awake.’
    • ‘I carried Katie into the lobby of an Annapolis hotel and asked the desk clerk for a room.’
    • ‘Now he works two jobs, as a taxicab driver and as a hotel desk clerk.’
    • ‘For a time I lived in the Bell Hotel and worked as a desk clerk.’
    • ‘You also have some rather elegant hotel reservations in St. Petersburg, the front desk clerk is Agent 21, so I'm sure you'll have no problems there.’
    • ‘She tossed the desk clerk her key before leaving the hotel.’
    • ‘We returned to the hotel late, only to be greeted by a tense desk clerk with a note in his hand.’
    • ‘When we complained to the desk clerk, he looked at the two of us and said simply, ‘One room.’’
    • ‘‘They came in around 10 or 11 a.m. and started talking to my desk clerk,’ he said.’
    • ‘The desk clerk wakes and begins to shout, ‘Can you see anything?’’
    • ‘There is nothing more annoying at 6: 00 o'clock in the morning than a cheery-voiced desk clerk telling you it's time to get up.’
    • ‘The desk clerk looked up over round-lensed glasses.’
    • ‘I watched her as she stared at the desk clerk wide-eyed.’
    • ‘The desk clerk smiled far too perkily for Simon's taste.’
    • ‘Paulo took a deep breath and approached the desk clerk.’
    • ‘Maze smiled and waved his card to the front desk clerk.’
    1. 2.1An assistant in a shop.
      ‘a clerk in an ice-cream store’
      • ‘The day of the show, I was in a posh glasses shop, begging the clerks to fix the specs I'd destroyed the previous night.’
      • ‘If that doesn't suit you, you could try asking the clerks at the fabric shop where you buy your cloth.’
      • ‘Ask the shop clerk (your new friend) to point out a couple of classic examples of Australian wines and tell you as much as possible about them.’
      • ‘The shop clerk, however, was unable to sleep at all.’
      • ‘Later, the second son becomes a clerk of the grain shop, comes to manage Wang Lung's finances, and marries a village maid.’
      • ‘An older woman in Florida asked the clerk in her gun shop to show her how to lock open the Kahr P9 she bought there.’
      • ‘In the shop he asked a clerk what a good present would be for a friend.’
      • ‘Jesse was checking out some pies on display when a clerk offered assistance.’
      • ‘The shop clerk moved forward until he was standing alongside Harry in front of the glass cases.’
      • ‘Stucco housing developments spill into the desert, fuelled by the influx of waitresses, shop clerks, card-dealers and construction workers.’
      • ‘They knew that several clerks lived in the shop and they felt that they would have to kill them in order to assure a successful robbery.’
      • ‘They had no luck in finding any so they asked the clerk for a specialty shop.’
      • ‘Most of the counter clerks in the retail sector, especially in the supermarkets, came from the lower socio-economic sector.’
      • ‘His father worked in Kumbakonam as a clerk in a cloth merchant's shop.’
      • ‘They have to be shopping partners, not salespeople or clerks.’
      • ‘Hiring enough stockers and clerks to keep merchandise flowing into shopping bags may be the right call.’
      • ‘‘Consider the motel housekeeper, the retail clerk at the hardware store or the coffee shop cook,’ the report said.’
      • ‘When I was 18 a 7-11 clerk refused to sell me food telling me I was too fat to eat.’
      • ‘In daily life, I may look no different than your typical shoe clerk.’
      • ‘People often must have several O-levels (equivalent to one or two years of American college) to be hired as a clerk in a store.’
      seller, salesperson, salesman, saleswoman, dealer, trader, tradesman, retailer, shopkeeper, shopman, shop girl, shop boy, sales assistant, assistant, wholesaler, merchant, trafficker, purveyor, supplier, stockist, marketer, marketeer, sales representative, door-to-door salesman, travelling salesman, commercial traveller
      View synonyms
  • 3

    (also clerk in holy orders)
    formal A member of the clergy.

    ‘He had been due to appear before a diocesan Consistory Court on 21 charges of conduct unbecoming a clerk in holy orders and one of serious, persistent or continuous neglect of duty.’
    • ‘He quit as he faced trial before an ecclesiastical court on 21 charges of conduct unbecoming a clerk in holy orders.’
    • ‘He said: ‘I think people are moving from all sorts of different trades to become clerks in holy orders now, including those who have been in the Army.’’
    • ‘‘This follows allegations of conduct unbecoming a clerk in holy orders,’ it stated.’
    • ‘It may result in the putting on trial of the dean in the church courts on a charge of conduct unbecoming a clerk in holy orders, and an announcement is expected within weeks.’
    • ‘One hundred and fifty years later, the situation had so changed that a distinction was drawn between mere lay scholars and clerks in holy orders.’
    • ‘The plan to appoint a brace of relatively young clerks to vacant bishoprics would destroy any prospect of him recovering effective control over the English church.’
    • ‘Dating from the 14th century, it became home for six chaplains and three clerks before its dissolution.’
  • 4 archaic A literate or scholarly person.

    • ‘Asked why he teaches, Kadish quoted a line from the general prologue of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales about the clerk (scholar) of Oxford.’


[no object]mainly North American
  • Work as a clerk.

    ‘eleven of those who left college this year are clerking in auction stores’
    • ‘He once again failed at everything he tried and went to work for his father clerking at the tannery store - a job he despised.’
    • ‘So at 19 he took a job clerking in a housewares store, where he rose to become manager.’
    • ‘I suffered through 13 years clerking and buying for a retail gun store to gather firearm industry experience.’
    • ‘Kneeling to cut the cords of newspaper bundles, TickTock, clerking in his father's store, grinned up.’
    • ‘Between the customary five-month terms of the school year, Mary clerked in her father's store.’
    • ‘I was clerking at the Institute for Justice that summer, and a writer for Reason magazine gave away some extra copies to the clerks.’
    • ‘After clerking, Cutler spent a year representing minority oilfield workers in an employment lawsuit.’
    • ‘It was just before his final year at Stanford Law School, and he was clerking during the summer at a firm in San Francisco.’
    • ‘Born in New York in 1816 and a graduate of Princeton, Conkling had clerked briefly in New Jersey then moved to Illinois in 1838 and was admitted to the bar that October.’
    • ‘The judge was the man for whom she had clerked, a widower with a heavy Russian accent and a love of the absurd.’
    • ‘There used to be good jobs here, but now almost everything is near-minimum-wage retail clerking.’
    • ‘It's now or never - and, let's face it, anything would be better than his day job, clerking at Mallesons.’
    • ‘He had come a long way down in the world, clerking in a surf shop and teaching Australian kids and Japanese tourists to surf on his lunch hour.’
    • ‘I spent a year clerking for a judge on the Fifth Circuit, whose jurisdiction stretches across Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.’
    • ‘She is currently clerking for a federal judge in Manhattan.’
    • ‘In 1847, he began clerking in the law office of Boston abolitionist Ellis Gray Loring.’
    • ‘When I graduated from law school in 1975, I clerked for a judge on the Ninth Circuit; at that time each judge disposed on the merits of approximately 210 cases a year.’
    • ‘Practice-group leaders, who often have clerked for the Court or have argued before it, hold meetings and debates to formulate how to push case law toward Federalist principles.’
    • ‘He will serve, it looks like, with the judge he clerked for.’
    • ‘She went to San Francisco to work and came back, clerked for a federal judge and then got a job in a law firm and just steadily worked her way up.’


    Clerk of the Closet
    • (in the UK) the sovereign's principal chaplain.

      ‘On October 20, Bishop Sentamu will pay formal homage to the Queen in private at Buckingham Palace, accompanied by a senior bishop as Clerk of the Closet.’
      • ‘He was made Clerk of the Closet to their majesties, and soon after consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury.’
      • ‘In practice, though, it was often the Clerk of the Closet who recommended who from amongst them would be chosen.’
      • ‘In 1736 he became Prebendary of Rochester and Clerk of the Closet to Queen Caroline.’
      • ‘In 1736 he was made Clerk of the Closet to Queen Caroline, and in the same year published his famous ‘Analogy of Religion.’’
      • ‘She appointed him Clerk of the Closet, which meant that Butler was expected to attend nightly gatherings of men of wit and learning.’
      • ‘This hat was found by Bishop Burnet, when Clerk of the Closet, in the great wardrobe and was given by his son, the Judge, to the Countess.’
      • ‘About three weeks after Windebank's appointment, he obtained another firm ally in Dr. Juxon, Dean of Worcester, who was made Clerk of the Closet.’
      • ‘Archbishop Davidson was first subalmoner to queen, then her domestic chaplain, then her Clerk of the Closet, a post which he continued to hold under Edward VII.’
      • ‘In 1746, upon the death of Dr Egerton, Bishop of Hereford, Dr Butler was made Clerk of the Closet to the King.’
    clerk of the course
    • An official who assists the judges in horse racing or motor racing.

      ‘Now the Wilmslow and Crewe-based dealer provides three: for the clerk of the course, for the observer and as a chase or pace car.’
      • ‘They were taken out because Ascot's likeable clerk of the course upset trainers by refusing to artificially water the sun-baked turf because rain was forecast.’
      • ‘Lambert, the clerk of the course, added: ‘There was a little scuffle in which one of the crew was left sitting on the ground as Mr Wintle sought refuge in the Tote Credit office.’’
      • ‘Ashley has been clerk of the course on the Mutiny Rally for many years, while Udy is secretary of the meeting for the June event.’
      • ‘Following an investigation by the clerk of the course the result for race one was amended.’
      • ‘Sandown clerk of the course Andrew Cooper said there was no choice but to abandon racing at the Surrey course.’
      • ‘He believes that racecourse layouts have improved enormously, with consequent benefits in safety, in recent years thanks to a new breed of clerks of the course.’
      • ‘Sitting in the cramped office of Ludlow's clerk of the course on Thursday, Lee still regards his unaccustomed celebrity with the detachment of a bystander in somebody else's dream.’
      • ‘He seems unperturbed by the pressure that the twin roles of chief executive and clerk of the course on the eve of a new season should bring.’
      • ‘In my role as clerk of the course at York I have never had reason to doubt the integrity of races run on Knavesmire.’
    clerk of works
    • A person who oversees building work in progress.

      ‘The job of clerk of the works would become director of works.’
      • ‘The clerk of works reported on the progress that was being quietly accomplished on the restoration operations at York Minster.’
      • ‘Over the centuries the internal scaffolding has been used by clerks of works and architects to carry out inspections of the spire.’
      • ‘I have had the clerk of works down on the floor six times but I still have no satisfaction.’
      • ‘He died from mesothelioma in 1998, following a career with Manchester city council as a clerk of works.’
      • ‘The builders, who are due to complete in October, have been moaning about the demands made by their clerk of works.’
      • ‘I have also worked with clerks of works, and I picked up a lot of information about that.’
      • ‘The Council also had a clerk of works on site, he said.’
      • ‘He became clerk of works with responsibility for Killarney National Park, Derrynane and Garnish Island.’
      • ‘Together with the clerk of works we have identified those items on the snagging lists that are to be referred to you for a decision.’


Old English cleric, clerc (in the sense ‘ordained minister, literate person’), from ecclesiastical Latin clericus ‘clergyman’ (see cleric); reinforced by Old French clerc, from the same source. clerk (sense 1 of the noun) dates from the early 16th century.