\ ˈpōp How to pronounce pope (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Pope (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Pope (audio) \ adjective

Examples of pope in a Sentence

Noun The cardinals elected a new pope.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The pope reportedly approved of Biden's immigration and climate change policies. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "'Serious threat': Top Catholic bishop criticizes Biden for abortion positions," 17 Nov. 2020 The church holds a special place in Polish society, in part because of the integral role that many priests, as well as the Polish pope, John Paul II, played in the 1980s in the Solidarity movement and the fight for freedom from communist rule. Marc Santora, New York Times, "Polish Women Lead Strike Over Abortion Ruling Amid Threats of Crackdown," 28 Oct. 2020 His family fell from favor when the new pope, Julius II, removed the Borgias from power and exiled them to Spain. National Geographic, "Machiavelli exposed the brutal truth about politics in a 'tell-all' treatise," 22 Oct. 2020 The pope, who was not seen wearing a mask, traveled to Assisi by car. Washington Post, "Pope Francis’s new encyclical is a papal warning about a world going backward," 4 Oct. 2020 Marian devotion is particularly important to Francis, history's first pope from Latin America, where displays of such popular piety are common. Nicole Winfield, Star Tribune, "Pope seeks to 'liberate' Virgin Mary from the Mafia," 18 Sep. 2020 Austen Ivereigh is the papal biographer who wrote the book and has written two others with the pope. Devon Link, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Pope Francis' new book criticizes those who refuse to wear masks to fight spread of COVID-19," 30 Nov. 2020 When the allegations were found convincing, the pope made McCarrick resign as a cardinal and dismissed him from the priesthood in 2018. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Commentary: Worse than bungling, McCarrick report shows Vatican failed to take abuse seriously," 11 Nov. 2020 In a reflection of the pope’s stress on helping those in need, especially the poor, Francis also named the former director of the Rome Catholic charity, Caritas, the Rev. Enrico Feroci, to be a cardinal. chicagotribune.com, "Pope Francis names 13 new cardinals, including Archbishop Wilton Gregory, the first US Black prelate chosen for the honor," 25 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for pope

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

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Statistics for pope

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pope.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pope. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for pope


How to pronounce Pope (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pope

: the head of the Roman Catholic Church


noun, often capitalized
\ ˈpōp How to pronounce pope (audio) \

Kids Definition of pope

: the head of the Roman Catholic Church

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Comments on pope

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