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laity

If you are a member of a religious group, but you are not an ordained minister or priest, then you are a member of the laity. Sometimes members of the laity will play a role in the church service, for example, doing one of the readings or running a youth group.

The noun laity is from the word lay, and lay person has a similar church meaning. The word lay itself is from the Greek word laikos meaning "of the people." The meaning of the word laity is sometimes expanded to refer to non-professionals workers, as opposed to professionals in a field. Volunteers are the laity of elementary education, and if you volunteer at a school, you can make a huge difference in a child's life.

Definitions of laity
  1. noun
    in Christianity, members of a religious community that do not have the priestly responsibilities of ordained clergy
    synonyms: temporalty
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    clergy
    in Christianity, clergymen collectively (as distinguished from the laity)
    type of:
    hoi polloi, mass, masses, multitude, people, the great unwashed
    the common people generally
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