Man of the cloth

Man of the cloth is an idiom that is hundreds of years old. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom man of the cloth, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

A man of the cloth is a clergyman, minister, priest, or other religious leader. The expression man of the cloth came into use in the early 1700s; previous to this time, the word cloth was used to mean the particular clothes worn by a profession and might have been considered a synonym for uniform. By the early 1700s, man of the cloth came to be used exclusively to refer to the clothing worn by a clergyman, minister, priest, or other religious leader. The plural form of man of the cloth is men of the cloth. The popularity of the term man of the cloth has fallen off slightly in recent years, most probably because of the rise of women clerics.

Examples

This would have been a distinguished record under any circumstance, but Archbishop Tutu did not become a man of the cloth for the sake of accolades. (Nigerian Tribune)

For a man of the cloth to be “saddened” by the coming to light of what really goes on under his watch distresses me greatly. (Los Angeles Times)

But a source said: “This is an extraordinary level of debt for an individual and not the sort of financial situation you would expect of a man of the cloth.” (Scottish Sun)

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