Man of the (gulp) cloth

What’s the origin of “man of the cloth”?

Interesting report Dex. BTW, asides are good and often as not at least as interesting as the question itself (although sometimes the exception pro… I mean, it’s not always so). Do we have any hints as to why the term fell into disuse for other callings? Was Swift using the term in a Swiftian manner?

What I particularly liked though is the touch of posting this as yesterday’s classic column.