pontifical

noun
pon·​tif·​i·​cal | \pän-ˈti-fi-kəl \

Definition of pontifical 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : episcopal attire specifically : the insignia of the episcopal order worn by a prelate when celebrating a pontifical mass usually used in plural

2 : a book containing the forms for sacraments and rites performed by a bishop

pontifical

adjective

Definition of pontifical (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : of or relating to a pontiff or pontifex

b : celebrated by a prelate of episcopal rank with distinctive ceremonies pontifical mass

2 : pompous

3 : pretentiously dogmatic

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Other Words from pontifical

Adjective

pontifically \pän-​ˈti-​fi-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for pontifical

Synonyms: Adjective

doctrinaire, dogmatic (also dogmatical), opinionated, opinionative, opinioned, self-opinionated

Antonyms: Adjective

latitudinarian, undoctrinaire, undogmatic

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Examples of pontifical in a Sentence

Adjective

a theater critic known for his pontifical pronouncements on what is or is not worth seeing

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But unlike pontifical councils, which put out official documents on behalf of the church, these academies aim simply to continue dialogue on church teachings on various subjects. Yamiche Alcindor, New York Times, "Bernie Sanders Announces Plan for Speech at Vatican, and Clarifications Follow APRIL 8, 2016," 14 Apr. 2016 The opening movement was somewhat pontifical, with ominous, weighty orchestral chords and repeated choral exclamations. Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, "Review: Premieres, a Tribute and an Anniversary at Carnegie Hall," 1 May 2016

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

First Known Use of pontifical

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for pontifical

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin pontificale, from neuter of pontificalis

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin pontificalis, from pontific-, pontifex

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

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More Definitions for pontifical

pontifical

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of pontifical

: of, relating to, or coming from a pope

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