One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1(in the Roman Catholic Church) relating to the pontiff or Pope.‘a pontifical commission’
- ‘The Catholic Church and the pontifical council are at the epicenter of ecumenism for many reasons, not least because well over half the Christians in the world are Catholics.’
- ‘More important, having been taught at university to question everything, to take nothing ‘on faith,’ they are quick to criticize pontifical pronouncements.’
- ‘The Pope puts on his pontifical clericals - white soutane and skull cap.’
- ‘He set up the pontifical commission Ecclesia Dei (Church of God) to cater for supporters of the Tridentine Mass.’
- ‘A few years ago I had a part in interesting the late Cardinal O'Connor and Cardinal Cassidy, then head of the pontifical council for Christian unity, in the Bruderhof's desire for a closer relationship with the Catholic Church.’
2Characterized by a pompous air of infallibility.‘such explanations were greeted with pontifical disdain’
pompous, cocksure, self-important, arrogant, superiorView synonyms
- ‘Direct bribery was also common, and represented a massive outlay - in the late 60s, Caesar had accumulated debts of several thousand talents due to his aedileship, his praetorian campaign, and his pontifical campaign.’
- ‘In a less pontifical mood, he agreed that his writing was ‘trivial.’’
- ‘An era of incorporation fostered a pontifical tone in American arts criticism.’
- ‘It would be far better to have sharply contrasted views in succession, in alteration, than to have this copious stream of pontifical, anonymous mugwumpery with which we have been dosed for so long.’
- ‘As with many pontifical statements, careful parsing of the message and interpretation of its meaning will be required before most hospitals change any of their rules for inpatient or hospital care.’
- ‘Ives totally mistrusted the cosmopolitan musical circles with their classic-worshipping conductors, snobbish patrons, and pontifical music critics.’
- ‘It is almost quaint that Isaacson, as he deconstructs the polemical and pontifical Time, is still thinking about people having debates and of journalism as the basis for social discourse.’
1(in the Roman Catholic Church) an office book of the Western Church containing rites to be performed by the Pope or bishops.
- ‘In the recent revision of this part of the Pontifical a deliberate choice was made in this respect.’
- ‘The Pontifical arranged by them served therefore as the basis for the Roman Pontifical of the Council of Trent published for the Latin Church in 1595-1596.’
- 1.1pontificals The vestments and insignia of a bishop, cardinal, or abbot.‘a bishop in full pontificals’
vestment, surplice, cassock, rochet, alb, dalmatic, chasubleView synonyms
- ‘But more strictly and accurately, rubricians limit the pontificals to those ornaments which a prelate wears in celebrating pontifically.’
- ‘The pontificals common to all are eight in number: buskins, sandals, gloves, dalmatic, tunicle, ring, pectoral cross, and mitre.’
Late Middle English: from Latin pontificalis, from pontifex (see pontifex).
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