[ pon-tif-i-kuh l ]
/ pɒnˈtɪf ɪ kəl /


of, relating to, or characteristic of a pontiff; papal.
pompous, dogmatic, or pretentious: to resent someone's pontifical manner.


(in the Western Church) a book containing the forms for the sacraments and other rites and ceremonies to be performed by bishops.
pontificals, the vestments and other insignia of a pontiff, especially a bishop.

Origin of pontifical

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin pontificālis, equivalent to pontific- (stem of pontifex) pontifex + -ālis -al1

Related forms

pon·tif·i·cal·ly, adverbun·pon·tif·i·cal, adjectiveun·pon·tif·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pontifical

British Dictionary definitions for pontifical


/ (pɒnˈtɪfɪkəl) /


of, relating to, or characteristic of a pontiff, the pope, or a bishop
having an excessively authoritative manner; pompous


RC Church Church of England a book containing the prayers and ritual instructions for ceremonies restricted to a bishop
See also pontificals

Derived Forms

pontifically, 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