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[pon-tif] /ˈpɒn tɪf/

any pontifex.
any high or chief priest.

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

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.


Read Also:

  • Pontific

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

  • Pontifical

    [pon-tif-i-kuh l] /pɒnˈtɪf ɪ kəl/ adjective 1. of, relating to, or characteristic of a ; papal. 2. pompous, dogmatic, or pretentious: to resent someone’s pontifical manner. noun 3. (in the Western Church) a book containing the forms for the sacraments and other rites and ceremonies to be performed by bishops. 4. pontificals, the vestments and […]

  • Pontifical-college

    noun 1. the chief body of priests in ancient Rome. noun (RC Church) 1. a major theological college under the direct control of the Roman Curia 2. the council of priests, being the chief hieratic body of the Church

  • Pontifical-mass

    noun 1. (sometimes lowercase) Roman Catholic Church. a High Mass celebrated by a bishop or other prelate. noun 1. (RC Church, Church of England) a solemn celebration of Mass by a bishop

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