often capitalized : a prelate who as bishop of Rome is the head of the Roman Catholic Church
: one that resembles a pope (as in authority)
: the Eastern Orthodox or Coptic patriarch of Alexandria
: a priest of an Eastern church

Examples of pope in a Sentence

The cardinals elected a new pope.
Recent Examples on the Web Before, the artist was serving the popes and aristocrats and Medici. David Marchese David Marchese Illustration By Bráulio Amado, New York Times, 26 Oct. 2023 Francis — who took the name of the patron saint of ecology — stands out among popes in his push to make environmentalism a core part of the faith. Chico Harlan, Washington Post, 4 Oct. 2023 For three years in the thirteenth century, there was no pope. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 15 Oct. 2023 The pope does not shy away from the responsibility of oil and gas companies, saying new fossil fuel exploration only further contributes to the climate crisis. Denise Chow, NBC News, 4 Oct. 2023 The pope leveled heavy criticism at climate change deniers and delayers. Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN, 4 Oct. 2023 The pope can also call an extraordinary meeting to discuss a more pressing topic and problem. Daniel Speed Thompson, The Conversation, 4 Oct. 2023 Other groups pressing for women’s ordination to the priesthood are also in Rome, even though the pope has taken the subject of women priests off the table. Nicole Winfield and Trisha Thomas, The Christian Science Monitor, 3 Oct. 2023 Because everyone from the pope to the World Health Organization to the U.N. is saying, just stop the violence for a period of time, at least. CBS News, 29 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pope.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near pope

Cite this Entry

“Pope.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pope. Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


often capitalized
: the head of the Roman Catholic Church

Biographical Definition

Pope 1 of 2

biographical name (1)

Alexander 1688–1744 English poet
Popian adjective
or less commonly Popean


2 of 2

biographical name (2)

John 1822–1892 American general
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!