pontiff

noun
pon·tiff | \ ˈpän-təf \

Definition of pontiff 

1 : pontifex

2 : bishop specifically, often capitalized : pope sense 1

Examples of pontiff in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Vatican tradition had called for the pontiff to eat by himself. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "Eating Alone," 6 July 2018 But the Argentine pontiff clearly believes that emphasizing a poor church ministering to the world’s outcasts is a more authentic, appealing — and ultimately evangelizing — global message than a defense of orthodoxy and Europe’s Christian roots. Jason Horowitz, BostonGlobe.com, "As Ireland joins Europe’s sprint from Catholic fold, Francis looks south," 27 May 2018 Vatican tradition had called for the pontiff to eat by himself. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "Eating Alone," 6 July 2018 Tuesday was the five-year anniversary of Pope Francis's election as head of the Catholic Church, and to mark the occassion the world got its first look at a new film featuring the pontiff. Sofia Lotto Persio, Newsweek, "First Look at Pope Francis Starring as Himself in New Wim Wenders Movie," 14 Mar. 2018 Vatican tradition had called for the pontiff to eat by himself. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "Eating Alone," 6 July 2018 Vatican tradition had called for the pontiff to eat by himself. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "Eating Alone," 6 July 2018 But the advent of the celebrity papacy brought liabilities for the office, as popularity became an inevitable criterion of a pontiff’s success. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Even the Pope’s ‘Supreme’ Power Has Its Limits," 29 Apr. 2018 Vatican tradition had called for the pontiff to eat by himself. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "Eating Alone," 6 July 2018

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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Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for pontiff

The first known use of pontiff was in 1552

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Spanish Central: Translation of pontiff

Nglish: Translation of pontiff for Spanish Speakers

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