pon·​tiff | \ ˈpän-təf How to pronounce pontiff (audio) \

Definition of pontiff

1 : pontifex
2 : bishop specifically, often capitalized : pope sense 1

Examples of pontiff in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The two men met again when the pontiff visited the U.S. in 2015 and when Biden visited the Vatican in 2016 to speak about cancer prevention at a conference on regenerative medicine. Michael Collins, USA TODAY, 29 Oct. 2021 In turn Biden gave the pontiff a vestment for clerics, known as a chasuble, made in 1930 that was part of an archive belonging to the oldest Catholic church in Washington. Chico Harlan, Seung Min Kim, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Oct. 2021 The pontiff had been expected—though not confirmed—to attend the COP26 summit in Glasgow to show his support for the issue, though the Vatican ruled this out in early October. Robert Hart, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 President Lyndon Johnson wanted to see him, but the pontiff was a chief of a state not officially recognized by the U.S. Alexandra Jaffe, ajc, 28 Oct. 2021 Biden was attending Mass at the same church which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited several weeks ago after her own meeting with the pontiff. Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2021 The private meeting lasted about 75 minutes, according to the Vatican, more than double the normal length of an audience with the pontiff. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 30 Oct. 2021 Their private meeting lasted about 75 minutes, according to the Vatican, more than double the normal length of an audience with the pontiff. Josh Boak, The Salt Lake Tribune, 29 Oct. 2021 The pontiff is scheduled to meet with residential school survivors in December. Julia Barajas, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pontiff.' 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 pontiff

1552, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for pontiff

French pontif, from Latin pontific-, pontifex

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The first known use of pontiff was in 1552

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Last Updated

20 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pontiff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pontiff. Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of pontiff

: pope

More from Merriam-Webster on pontiff

Nglish: Translation of pontiff for Spanish Speakers


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