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[ih-pis-kuh-puh l]
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  1. of or relating to a bishop: episcopal authority.
  2. based on or recognizing a governing order of bishops: an episcopal hierarchy.
  3. (initial capital letter) designating the Anglican Church or some branch of it, as the Episcopal Church in America.
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  1. (initial capital letter) Informal. an Episcopalian.
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Origin of episcopal

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English word from Late Latin word episcopālis. See bishop, -al1
Related formse·pis·co·pal·ly, adverbnon·e·pis·co·pal, adjectivenon·e·pis·co·pal·ly, adverbpseu·do·e·pis·co·pal, adjectivequa·si-e·pis·co·pal, adjectivequa·si-e·pis·co·pal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for episcopal

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "And of course we must go to the Episcopal church there," said Psyche.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • "That's Episcopal," Pee-wee said with withering superiority!

    Pee-wee Harris

    Percy Keese Fitzhugh

  • Now, as heretofore, we have episcopal reminders of the blessings of war.

    Mountain Meditations

    L. Lind-af-Hageby

  • But is not this understating the case on the Episcopal side?

  • So Alden bent his steps to the house of the Episcopal minister at Charlottesville.

    Victor's Triumph

    Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth

British Dictionary definitions for episcopal


  1. of, denoting, governed by, or relating to a bishop or bishops
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Derived Formsepiscopally, adverb

Word Origin

C15: from Church Latin episcopālis, from episcopus bishop


  1. belonging to or denoting the Episcopal Church
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Derived FormsEpiscopally, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for episcopal


mid-15c., from Middle French épiscopal (14c.), from Late Latin episcopalis, from Latin episcopus "an overseer" (see bishop). Reference to a church governed by bishops is 1752. With a capital E-, the ordinary designation of the Anglican church in the U.S. and Scotland.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper