Pontiff



[pon-tif] /ˈpɒn tɪf/

noun
1.
any pontifex.
2.
any high or chief priest.
3.
Ecclesiastical.

/ˈpɒntɪf/
noun
1.
a former title of the pagan high priest at Rome, later used of popes and occasionally of other bishops, and now confined exclusively to the pope
n.

c.1600, “high priest,” from French pontif (early 16c.), from Latin pontifex, title of a Roman high priest (see pontifex). Used for “bishop” in Church Latin, but not recorded in that sense in English until 1670s, specifically “the bishop of Rome,” the pope. Pontifical, however, is used with this sense from mid-15c.

Another name for the pope. Pontiff comes from a Latin word, meaning “bridge builder,” that was used as a title for some of the priests of ancient Rome.

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  • Pontific

    [pon-tif-ik] /pɒnˈtɪf ɪk/ adjective, Archaic. 1. .

  • Pontifical

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