[pahy-luh t]
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  1. Pon·tius [pon-shuh s, -tee-uh s] /ˈpɒn ʃəs, -ti əs/, flourished early 1st century a.d., Roman procurator of Judea a.d. 26–36?: the final authority concerned in the condemnation and execution of Jesus Christ.
Can be confusedPilate pilot
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for pilate

hairy, furry, downy, frizzy, woolly, flossy, linty, pilate, velutinous

British Dictionary definitions for pilate


  1. Pontius (ˈpɒnʃəs, ˈpɒntɪəs). Roman procurator of Judaea (?26–?36 ad), who ordered the crucifixion of Jesus, allegedly against his better judgment
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 pilate



c.1400 as a term of reproach, from the Roman surname, especially that of Pontius, a governor of Judaea, from Latin Pilatus, literally "armed with javelins," from pilum "javelin" (see pile (n.2)). Among slang and cant uses of Pontius Pilate mentioned in the 1811 "Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence" is "(Cambridge) a Mr. Shepherd of Trinity College; who disputing with a brother parson on the comparative rapidity with which they read the liturgy, offered to give him as far as Pontius Pilate in the Belief."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper