\ˈpōp \

Definition of pope 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 often capitalized : a prelate who as bishop of Rome is the head of the Roman Catholic Church

2 : one that resembles a pope (as in authority)

3a : the Eastern Orthodox or Coptic patriarch of Alexandria

b : a priest of an Eastern church


biographical name (1)
\ˈpōp \

Definition of Pope (Entry 2 of 3)

Alexander 1688–1744 English poet


biographical name (2)

Definition of Pope (Entry 3 of 3)

John 1822–1892 American general

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Other Words from pope

Biographical name (1)

Popian or less commonly Popean \ˈpō-pē-ən \ adjective

Examples of pope in a Sentence


The cardinals elected a new pope.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Pell, who served at the Vatican as one of the pope’s top aides, has become the highest ranking Catholic in the world to be charged in the church’s global abuse scandal. Rod Mcguirk, USA TODAY, "Australian bishop sentenced to year’s detention for child sex abuse cover-up," 2 July 2018 Even some of the pope’s strongest supporters voiced dismay or fell silent about his apparent lack of sensitivity. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Pope’s Handling of Sex-Abuse Case Shows Political Savvy," 21 May 2018 Chileans' disenchantment with the church has also affected their views of the pope. Eva Vergara, Fox News, "Chileans denounce suffering sex abuse by Marists, priests," 14 May 2018 The visit to the pope, which had been planned as part of the Villanova board of trustees’ spring meeting in Rome, was the highlight of an off-season of events for Wright after the Wildcats’ second national championship in three years. Joe Juliano, Philly.com, "Jay Wright's memorable off-season experience: A visit with Pope Francis," 14 May 2018 The pope invited 12 Syrian refugees to accompany him on his return flight to Rome, where they will be cared for by the Sant’Egidio religious community. Newsweek, "Self-Identified 'Environmentalists' Drop Sharply," 14 Mar. 2018 Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina has been elected to be the next pope. Meredith Bodgas, Woman's Day, "The First South American Pope Is Elected," 13 Mar. 2013 The Vatican, the pope just appointed one of its members, the auxiliary bishop of Portland in 2014. Fox News, "Media's Supreme Court scrutiny," 9 July 2018 Lotto was christened the first modern portraitist in the 1890s by the American art historian Bernard Berenson, who compared Lotto’s expressive merchants and artisans with Titian’s more heroic emperors and popes. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, "A Modern Portraitist, Ahead of His Time," 6 July 2018

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pope


Middle English, from Old English pāpa, from Late Latin papa, from Greek pappas, papas, title of bishops, literally, papa

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Statistics for pope

Last Updated

23 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for pope

The first known use of pope was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for pope



English Language Learners Definition of pope

: the head of the Roman Catholic Church


noun, often capitalized
\ˈpōp \

Kids Definition of pope

: the head of the Roman Catholic Church

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Comments on pope

What made you want to look up pope? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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