pontifical

noun
pon·​tif·​i·​cal | \ pän-ˈti-fi-kəl How to pronounce pontifical (audio) \

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
3 : pretentiously dogmatic

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Other Words from pontifical

Adjective

pontifically \ pän-​ˈti-​fi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce pontifical (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for pontifical

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 The prevailing view of Wordsworth—pontifical, orthodox, austere—was entrenched by the Victorians, who praised him for the very qualities the Younger Romantics had mocked. Matthew Bevis, Harper's Magazine, "Faintly Risible, Obscurely Resonant," 23 June 2020 Lifting the rule of pontifical secrecy does not clarify church official’s obligations to comply with such requests. Washington Post, "Pope ends a secrecy rule for Catholic sexual abuse cases, but for victims many barriers to justice remain," 13 Jan. 2020 The Vatican had previously argued that the imposition of pontifical secrecy was necessary to protect both victim and accused. BostonGlobe.com, "The secrecy change is the latest step in the church’s attempts to tackle the sexual abuse crisis that has shadowed it for decades. Growing global pressure for greater accountability forced the issue to the front of Pope Francis’ agenda.," 18 Dec. 2019 Critics said the pontifical secret was used to keep the scandal hidden, prevent police from acquiring internal documentation and silence victims. Nicole Winfield, Anchorage Daily News, "Vatican office struggles to keep up with rise in clergy abuse cases," 21 Dec. 2019 Critics said the pontifical secret was used to keep the scandal hidden, prevent police from acquiring internal documentation and silence victims. Nicole Winfield, Anchorage Daily News, "Vatican office struggles to keep up with rise in clergy abuse cases," 21 Dec. 2019 Critics said the pontifical secret was used to keep the scandal hidden, prevent police from acquiring internal documentation and silence victims. Nicole Winfield, Anchorage Daily News, "Vatican office struggles to keep up with rise in clergy abuse cases," 21 Dec. 2019 Critics said the pontifical secret was used to keep the scandal hidden, prevent police from acquiring internal documentation and silence victims. Nicole Winfield, Anchorage Daily News, "Vatican office struggles to keep up with rise in clergy abuse cases," 21 Dec. 2019 Critics said the pontifical secret was used to keep the scandal hidden, prevent police from acquiring internal documentation and silence victims. Nicole Winfield, Anchorage Daily News, "Vatican office struggles to keep up with rise in clergy abuse cases," 21 Dec. 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for pontifical

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

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Cite this Entry

“Pontifical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pontifical. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for pontifical

pontifical

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of pontifical

formal : of, relating to, or coming from a pope

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