• synonyms


  1. pertaining to, of the nature of, or containing a decree or decrees.
Show More
  1. a papal decree authoritatively determining some point of doctrine or church law.
  2. Decretals, the body or collection of such decrees as a part of the canon law.
Show More

Origin of decretal

1350–1400; Middle English < Old French < Late Latin dēcrētālis fixed by decree, equivalent to dēcrēt(um) decree + -ālis -al1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for decretal

Historical Examples

  • This was not a decretal commission; it did not bind the Pope or prevent him from revoking the case.

    Henry VIII.

    A. F. Pollard

  • The decretal letters of the popes were put on a par with Scripture.

  • Why should not the Pope, then, allow the decretal to be put in execution?

  • He had granted the decretal only to be shown to the King, and then burnt.

  • He mastered the whole system of decretal lore and made it his guide for the rest of his life.

    The Rise of the Mediaeval Church

    Alexander Clarence Flick

British Dictionary definitions for decretal


  1. RC Church a papal edict on doctrine or church law
Show More
  1. of or relating to a decretal or a decree
Show More
Derived Formsdecretalist, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Old French, from Late Latin dēcrētālis; see decree
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012