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The German language's affinity for sesquipedalians once led Mark Twain to quip, "Some German words are so long that they have a perspective." Having polysyllabic words in a language is no sin as long as you get your words' worth. In that respect, those lengthy German words are worth every syllable. Where else can you find a single word, schadenfreude, for example, that conveys the whole concept of 'pleasure derived from the misfortunes of another'? The English language knows a good thing when it sees one and has generously borrowed terms from German. This week we'll meet five of them, both with and without 'perspective'.

clerisy (KLER-i-see) noun

The well-educated class; the literati; the intelligentsia.

[From German Klerisei (clergy), from Medieval Latin clericia, from Late Latin clericus (cleric), from Greek klerikos (belonging to the clergy), from Greek kleros (inheritance).]

Ironically, clerisy and clerk have branched out from the same root, that is also the source for clergy and cleric.

See more usage examples of clerisy in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

-Anu Garg (garg AT wordsmith.org)

"The artist, the scholar, and, in general, the clerisy wins its way up into these places, and gets represented here, somewhat on this footing of conquest." Ralph Waldo Emerson; Manners; 1844.


I fear nothing, I hope for nothing, I am free. -Nikos Kazantzakis, poet and novelist (1883-1957)


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