pa·​pal | \ ˈpā-pəl How to pronounce papal (audio) \

Definition of papal

: of or relating to a pope or to the Roman Catholic Church also : resembling a pope or that of a pope

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Other Words from papal

papally \ ˈpā-​pə-​lē How to pronounce papally (audio) \ adverb

Examples of papal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The fear of meddling rose next in the 1840s, when the anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic Know-Nothing Party saw new immigrants from Ireland as part of a papal plot to take over America. Anna Diamond, Smithsonian, "Why Don’t People Smile in Old Photographs? And More Questions From Our Readers," 11 July 2019 Some observers believe that Putin’s visit could be a prelude to a papal visit to Russia. Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, "Pope Francis and Putin meet at Vatican, discuss Syria, Ukraine," 5 July 2019 Serbin, a professor of history at the University of San Diego, was among those who met with Pope Francis in 2017 at a papal audience devoted to supporting those with Huntington’s. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Experimental Huntington’s disease drug can be given less frequently," 1 July 2019 Directed by Saunders as part of a new center at the Catholic University of America, the program will teach natural law and rights, along with papal encyclicals, to ready young conservatives for careers in public work. Kathryn Joyce, The New Republic, "The Man Behind the State Department’s New “Natural Law” Focus," 14 June 2019 But the strongest indication of his values came with his choice of a papal name. Bill Weir, CNN, "Why some conservatives see Pope Francis as a threat," 13 Mar. 2018 Indeed, the Holy Roman Empire might have remained in German hands for a millennium, had Otto not promised His Holiness not to invade papal lands, then gone and done exactly, precisely that. Rebecca Schuman, Longreads, "On Truth and Lying in the Extra German Sense," 20 June 2019 Since the Byzantine era, the most important footwear in the Catholic faith has been pontifical shoes and papal slippers: two related categories of laceless red shoe worn by the Bishop of Rome. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "The Normcore Opulence of Preachers Wearing Four-Figure Sneakers," 14 June 2019 The press corps will latch on to one or more of the pope’s remarks that appear to suggest a papal willingness to change a particular Church teaching, even though the pope has never explicitly said so. John Hirschauer, National Review, "What Is Pope Francis Saying about Communion?," 10 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'papal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of papal

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for papal

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin papalis, from Late Latin papa

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Dictionary Entries near papal





papal cross

papal decree


Statistics for papal

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for papal

The first known use of papal was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of papal

: of or relating to the pope or the government of the Roman Catholic Church

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More from Merriam-Webster on papal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with papal

Spanish Central: Translation of papal

Nglish: Translation of papal for Spanish Speakers

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