Dictionary.com

pontiff

[ pon-tif ]
/ ˈpɒn tɪf /
Save This Word!

noun
any pontifex.
any high or chief priest.
Ecclesiastical.
  1. a bishop.
  2. the Roman Catholic pope, the Bishop of Rome.
QUIZ
WILL YOU SAIL OR STUMBLE ON THESE GRAMMAR QUESTIONS?
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of pontiff

1600–10; earlier pontife<French, short for Latin pontifexpontifex
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use pontiff in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pontiff

pontiff
/ (ˈpɒntɪf) /

noun
a former title of the pagan high priest at Rome, later used of popes and occasionally of other bishops, and now confined exclusively to the pope

Word Origin for pontiff

C17: from French pontife, from Latin pontifex
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

Cultural definitions for pontiff

pontiff

Another name for the pope. Pontiff comes from a Latin word, meaning “bridge builder,” that was used as a title for some of the priests of ancient Rome.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
FEEDBACK