pontificate

[noun pon-tif-i-kit, -keyt; verb pon-tif-i-keyt]
verb (used without object), pon·tif·i·cat·ed, pon·tif·i·cat·ing.
  1. to perform the office or duties of a pontiff.
  2. to speak in a pompous or dogmatic manner: Did he pontificate about the responsibilities of a good citizen?
  3. to serve as a bishop, especially in a Pontifical Mass.

Origin of pontificate

1575–85; (noun) < Latin pontificātus; see pontifical, -ate3; (v.) < Medieval Latin pontificātus past participle of pontificāre to be an ecclesiastic; see -ate1
Related formspon·tif·i·ca·tion, nounpon·tif·i·ca·tor, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for pontificates

pontificate

verb (pɒnˈtɪfɪˌkeɪt) (intr)
  1. to speak or behave in a pompous or dogmatic mannerAlso (less commonly): pontify (ˈpɒntɪˌfaɪ)
  2. to serve or officiate as a pontiff, esp in celebrating a Pontifical Mass
noun (pɒnˈtɪfɪkɪt)
  1. the office or term of office of a pontiff, now usually the pope
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 pontificates

pontificate

v.

1818, "to act as a pontiff," from Medieval Latin pontificatus, past participle of pontificare "to be a pontifex," from Latin pontifex (see pontiff). Meaning "to assume pompous and dignified airs, issue dogmatic decrees" is from 1825. Meaning "to say (something) in a pontifical way" is from 1922. Related: Pontificated; pontificating.

pontificate

n.

1580s, from Latin pontificatus "office of a pontiff," from pontifex (see pontifex).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper