\ 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 Popean (audio) \ adjective

Examples of pope in a Sentence


The cardinals elected a new pope.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The New Pope stars John Malkovich and Law, who will reprise his role as Lenny Belardo (later Pope Pius XIII), the first American pope in history. Natalie Stone, PEOPLE.com, "Holy Abs! Jude Law Strips Down to (Very) Low-Rise Swimwear in The New Pope Teaser," 30 Aug. 2019 Bishops must register with the official church, but Antonio Yao Shun’s ordination in Inner Mongolia also received the pope’s blessing. The Economist, "Politics this week," 29 Aug. 2019 Hatchwell gave the pope a copy of the Alba Bible, a manuscript from 1422 of a translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Castilian, or Medieval Spanish, by Rabbi Moses Arrajel of Toledo. sun-sentinel.com, "Cameras banned from Israeli polling stations in decision targeting Likud," 27 Aug. 2019 After the death of Pope Stephen V in 891, Formosus became pope. National Geographic, "In 897, the corpse of a pope was exhumed—to be put on trial.," 20 Aug. 2019 She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, featured on Time magazine's cover and met the pope. Elizabeth Lawrence, USA TODAY, "Anchors away: Teen eco-activist Greta Thunberg sets sail for UN conference on zero-carbon boat," 14 Aug. 2019 As archbishop for more than two decades, Ortega oversaw the visits of three popes to the island and the slow rebuilding of the church's influence under the rule of the late Fidel Castro. Ray Sanchez, CNN, "Cardinal Ortega, former Havana archbishop who played role in US-Cuba thaw, dies at 82," 26 July 2019 Because the pope at the time opposed democracy, anti-Catholic agitators suggested American Catholics would certainly reject American political institutions and norms. Krista Kafer, The Denver Post, "Kafer: What John Andrews got wrong is that all religions are susceptible to abuse," 18 July 2019 No pope has ever set foot in Russia, but Putin’s foreign affairs adviser said the issue wasn’t on the agenda for the visit. Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, "Pope Francis and Putin meet at Vatican, discuss Syria, Ukraine," 5 July 2019

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

9 Sep 2019

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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 How to pronounce pope (audio) \

Kids Definition of pope

: the head of the Roman Catholic Church

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More from Merriam-Webster on pope

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pope

Spanish Central: Translation of pope

Nglish: Translation of pope for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pope for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pope

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).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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