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Definition of "pontifical" [pon•tif•ic•al]

  • Relating to, characteristic of, or suitable for a pope or bishop. (adjective)
  • Having the dignity, pomp, or authority of a pontiff or bishop. (adjective)
  • Pompously dogmatic or self-important; pretentious. (adjective)
  • The vestments and insignia of a pontiff or bishop. (noun)
  • A book of forms for ceremonies performed by a bishop. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "pontifical" in a sentence
  • "There are only three institutions with the title pontifical: (1) The Pontifical Seminary of Kandy, Ceylon; (2) The Pontifical Seminary of Scutari (Collegium"
  • "This must be demonstrated not in pontifical phrases in front of the Empire Club but in actions that are producing the results we talk about."
  • "Many innovations on these rights have been made by special decrees or customs, and, according to the prevailing discipline, account must be taken of the so-called pontifical reservations, or the rights which the pope has reserved to himself, especially as regards the highest dignity of the chapter, and also of the legitimate privileges possessed by patrons in Spain,"