From Servant S01E09: Timestamp 04:20

Julian : What is the meaning of your son's name ?

Dorothy : It does not mean anything. It's just a great name.

Julian : I think you may have condemned your son to the life of the collar?

What does this phrase mean? What is "life of the collar"?

  • 3
    It's like saying "man of the cloth". Just an expression meaning "Priest" or similar. It's old-fashioned.
    – Fattie
    Commented Dec 6, 2023 at 22:22
  • 1
    ...just don't make a habit of it.
    – Criggie
    Commented Dec 6, 2023 at 23:28
  • 3
    @Criggie - I got baptised in Times New Roman because the vicar used the wrong font.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 7, 2023 at 15:42

1 Answer 1


The line preceding this statement is

"Why Jericho? What does it mean? Biblically speaking?"

The implication is that by giving the child such an ostentatiously Christian name, they're making it all but certain that he'll end up taking holy orders and start wearing a clerical collar

enter image description here

The expression "a life of the collar" itself has been in common usage for some considerable time. For example;

Marcus Goulding, who is in his seventh year at the seminary and due to be ordained a deacon on September 10, believes the church needs good priests more than ever. Now aged 25, he got the marks to study law, but the calling from God was louder. As he prepares for a life of the collar rather than the wig, he feels a responsibility for restoring the integrity of the church.

Daily Telegraph AU- Why young people are lining up to become priests and nuns

  • 11
    @Arthur No, a priest's collar is the thin white collar next to their skin (which can also be seen on the picture you posted). Ceremonial collars exist, sure, but the regular priest's collar is normally worn every day as a sign of devotion.
    – Graham
    Commented Dec 6, 2023 at 14:06
  • 2
    And "the wig" refers to the traditional white wig worn by lawyers in court.
    – Barmar
    Commented Dec 6, 2023 at 16:32
  • 2
    @Valorum In any case, I think the metaphor "life of the wig" is not meant to imply that they would specifically be a barrister, it presumably refers to the legal profession in general.
    – Barmar
    Commented Dec 6, 2023 at 17:06
  • 1
    I agree 100%, @Valorum, that "a life of the collar" is an old phrase, but your supporting quote would do well to have a date without forcing all of us to click through the link to see when that article was written. TBH, there's nothing "old" feeling about the writing in the quote - it could have come from last week. (And now that curiosity got the best of me, that's from 2016, so I wouldn't think that a "considerable time" ago...) :D
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 6, 2023 at 18:45
  • 1
    @FreeMan They didn't say it was archaic. It has been in use for some time, and is still in use.
    – Barmar
    Commented Dec 6, 2023 at 18:51

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