[vat-i-kuh n]
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  1. Also called Vatican Palace. the chief residence of the popes in Vatican City, now also including a library, archives, art museum, apartments, and administrative offices.
  2. the authority and government of the pope (distinguished from the Quirinal).

Origin of Vatican

1545–55; < Latin vātīcānus (mōns) Vatican (hill)

Vatican II Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for vatican


    1. the palace of the popes in Rome and their principal residence there since 1377, which includes administrative offices, a library, museum, etc, and is attached to the basilica of St Peter's
    2. (as modifier)the Vatican Council
    1. the authority of the Pope and the papal curia
    2. (as modifier)a Vatican edict

Word Origin for Vatican

C16: from Latin Vāticānus mons Vatican hill, on the western bank of the Tiber, of Etruscan origin
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 vatican


1550s, from Latin mons Vaticanus, Roman hill on which Papal palace stands. An Etruscan loan-word, not related to vates "sooth-sayer."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

vatican in Culture

Vatican II

The popular name for the Second Vatican Council, an assembly of all the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church held from 1962 to 1965. The bishops ordered a large-scale liberalization and modernization of practices in their church.

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.