- a member of the Pontifical College, which was presided over by a chief priest (Pontifex Maximus).
Origin of pontifex
Examples from the Web for pontifex
But Bibi didn't come to the “eternal city” just to preach to the pontifex about the persecution of Jews in Medieval Spain.Israel, Italy, the Iran Connection and Berlusconi's Legacy
December 4, 2013
The hat started; Pontifex drew a stranger; so did Mansfield.
Pontifex received them all with serene affability and good breeding.
Not content with being an artist, Mr Pontifex must needs also be a musician.
Mr Pontifex was not the man to trouble himself much about his motives.
Soon the beans were rattling in the hat of the Pontifex, and, mirabile!
- (in ancient Rome) any of the senior members of the Pontifical College, presided over by the Pontifex Maximus
Word Origin and History for pontifex
member of the supreme college of priests in ancient Rome, 1570s, from Latin pontifex "high priest, chief of the priests," probably from pont-, stem of pons "bridge" (see pons) + -fex, -ficis, root of facere "make" (see factitious). If so, the word originally meant "bridge-maker," or "path-maker."
Weekley points out that, "bridge-building has always been regarded as a pious work of divine inspiration." Or the term may be metaphoric of bridging the earthly world and the realm of the gods. Other suggestions trace it to Oscan-Umbrian puntis "propitiary offering," or to a lost Etruscan word, in either case altered by folk etymology to resemble the Latin for "bridge-maker." In Old English, pontifex is glossed in the Durham Ritual (Old Northumbrian dialect) as brycgwyrcende "bridge-maker."