suf·​fra·​gan | \ˈsə-fri-gən, -jən\

Definition of suffragan 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a diocesan bishop (as in the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England) subordinate to a metropolitan

2 : an Anglican or Episcopal bishop assisting a diocesan bishop and not having the right of succession



Definition of suffragan (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of or being a suffragan

2 : subordinate to a metropolitan or archiepiscopal see

Examples of suffragan in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Rev. Barbara Harris The Rev. Barbara Harris, a retired bishop suffragan from Massachusetts, gave a rousing sermon. Dan Kane And Tim Funk, charlotteobserver, "Episcopal Church in central NC gets new bishop," 15 July 2017 The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland had elevated Cook to the position of bishop suffragan in May of 2014. Jonathan M. Pitts,, "Parole hearing for former Bishop Heather Cook set for this morning," 9 May 2017 The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland had elevated Cook to the position of bishop suffragan in May 2014. Jonathan M. Pitts, Washington Post, "Early parole rejected for Md. woman who pleaded guilty in drunk-driving case," 9 May 2017

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for suffragan


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin suffraganeus, from suffragium support, prayer

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Time Traveler for suffragan

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

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