Definition of bishop in English:



  • 1A senior member of the Christian clergy, usually in charge of a diocese and empowered to confer holy orders.

    • ‘The Catholic position is that there is only one true church of Jesus Christ, and its bishop is in Rome.’
    • ‘The brothers' father was also an Anglican bishop of Low Church or Evangelical faith.’
    • ‘Certainly the pope and the church's cardinals and bishops must correct the mistakes of the past.’
    • ‘That governs, ordinarily, the arrangements of priests and bishops and archbishops within the Greek Orthodox Church.’
    • ‘The archbishops and bishops of the Church were likewise to contribute soldiers, or an equivalent amount in money.’
    • ‘About 100 church members joined the bishop of Mississippi here for about an hour-long service here.’
    • ‘The spiritual peerage consists of the archbishops and diocesan bishops of the Church of England.’
    • ‘In the end, the episcopate came to the United States through the nonjuring bishops of the Episcopal Church in Scotland.’
    • ‘The most important leader in every large church was a bishop who supervised other clergy.’
    • ‘The understanding of the role of the bishop in a diocese involves seeing the bishop as representing Jesus Christ among the priests and people of his diocese.’
    • ‘There needs to be a real sharing of power in the church, especially in choosing pastors and bishops and in supervising church finances.’
    • ‘With deference to tradition, the cardinals went first, archbishops and bishops followed and the priests came last.’
    • ‘The local diocesan bishop is charged with enforcement of all these requirements.’
    • ‘The bishops of the Church of England have called upon all Christians to pray for a just and peaceful resolution to this crisis.’
    • ‘By the sixth century, Christian bishops and clergy had become far more numerous than the civil service.’
    • ‘The courses themselves are run by the church, with significant participation by the diocesan bishop.’
    • ‘I fear the day when the laity selects the bishop of each diocese.’
    • ‘Under the proposal, Lutherans would also accept the historic line of bishops within the Episcopal Church.’
    • ‘At first glance, the statement yesterday from bishops in the Episcopal Church USA looks pretty good.’
    • ‘Two senior members of the bishop's staff quit when the service was cancelled amid claims by the Church that the timing was not appropriate.’
    prelate, diocesan, metropolitan, suffragan, coadjutor
    View synonyms
  • 2An African weaver bird, the male of which has red, orange, yellow, or black plumage.

    • ‘Such costs should influence the female's decision of where to start a breeding attempt and might explain why female red bishops do not show a preference for males with many nests.’
    • ‘Bright colored feathers of the bishop bird adorn his headdress.’
    • ‘The cuckoo was taken from the nest of a red bishop bird.’
    • ‘I believe the bird upper right in the above photo is an Orange Bishop (Euplectes franciscanus).’
  • 3A chess piece, typically with its top shaped like a mitre, that can move in any direction along a diagonal on which it stands. Each player starts the game with two bishops, one moving on white squares and the other on black.

    • ‘After all, the knight was the only piece guarding the attacked bishop.’
    • ‘Exchanging dark-squared bishops is of course a useful positional objective but will White have enough compensation?’
    • ‘He shouted as he moved his bishop into check mate.’
    • ‘You may eventually notice that bishops stay on a single color, that pawns don't move very fast, or that the queen is feared by other pieces.’
    • ‘To move her bishop to strike his knight would leave the king open on two sides without escape, a checkmate.’
    • ‘Though black got a good attack on the queenside, Prakash defended well and came up with the right moves to win the game in a bishop and pawn ending in 51 moves.’
    • ‘The pawn structure Black obtains with this move does not work well with the bishop on b7.’
    • ‘Every chess bishop moves on a diagonal, and none of those on black squares ever move to white squares (in the same game).’
    • ‘But this resulted in the immediate loss of a piece as Adams took a pawn with his bishop attacking the black queen.’
    • ‘Unfortunately for White, his queen is overworked; it is the only piece guarding the bishops.’
    • ‘Black simply sacrifices one of the bishops for White's remaining pawn.’
    • ‘It may take him many weeks to realize that bishops move only along diagonals and rooks move only along orthorgonals.’
    • ‘Then the two met in the seventh round and drew after 57 moves in an opposite-coloured bishop ending as both kept their title hopes alive.’
    • ‘Each was set up on opposite ends of the board, with each player having two bishops and two rooks.’
    • ‘He therefore ignored the move, advancing a bishop across the board.’
    • ‘The rook is no match for two bishops despite the extra pawns.’
    • ‘On the one hand, the pieces were easily distinguishable by easily recognisable symbols atop a pedestal - the King with a crown, the Queen with a coronet and the bishop by a mitre.’
    • ‘Which of the following pieces is the most potent in a game of chess - the rook, the bishop the knight, the queen or the pawn?’
    • ‘For example, thinking that trading a rook and pawn for a bishop and knight is usually an equal trade.’
    • ‘But white blundered away a pawn when rooks were exchanged, then had to sack his bishop to stop a passed pawn.’
  • 4mass noun Mulled and spiced wine.

    • ‘The 2005 Glaetzer Bishop is dense plum/purple in colour, with crushed black pepper, liquorice and anise on the nose.’
    • ‘Glogg, gluhwein, poker beer, bishop, toddy, hot punch, flip, rumfustian, and wassail are all of the warmed spirit family.’
    • ‘It is sometimes called “purple wine” and received the name “bishop” from its colour.’
    • ‘Our guide handed out copies of a recipe for bishop, a kind of mulled wine popular in Victorian times at Christmas.’


Old English biscop, bisceop, based on Greek episkopos ‘overseer’, from epi ‘above’ + -skopos ‘-looking’.