white-collar worker who conducts general office tasks

A clerk is someone who writes. The word is derived from the Greek κληρικός (klērikos), meaning "of the clergy".[1][2] Once only religious people could write, so a cleric meant a religious person.

In early mediaeval courts, writing was mainly done by clergy because most men, including nobles, could not read. In a medieval context, the word clerk meant "scholar". Now almost everyone can read and write, but the term 'clerk' still correctly applies to whole professions such as accountants, lawyers and civil servants. There is such a person as the Clerk of the House of Commons, and every court in England has a legally qualified clerk. Their job is to keep the records, and run the behind-the-scenes business.



  1. Clerk, Online Etymology Dictionary
  2. Klerikos, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, "A Greek-English Lexicon", at Perseus