Definition of antipope in US English:



  • A person established as pope in opposition to one held by others to be canonically chosen.

    • ‘These ‘imposters’ are referred to as antipopes and are considered to be agents of the devil.’
    • ‘If antipopes are counted, there have been 99 popes and 10 antipopes equaling 109.’
    • ‘It is the purpose of this short essay to explain the confusing array of names of popes and antipopes during this time.’
    • ‘But they are too trivial even to be called antipopes.’
    • ‘Except as regards Peter's length of tenure this essay upholds convention in the roster of popes, and with the further exception of Philip, names of antipopes play no role in what follows.’
    • ‘Important antipopes were Novatian; Clement III; Nicholas V; Clement VII; Benedict XIII; John XXIII (or by a different count, John XXII; see Cossa, Baldassare); and Felix V, who was the last antipope.’
    • ‘There have been almost fifty antipopes and right now there are three: Michael I, Linus II and Pius XIII.’
    • ‘The Second was called in 1139 to clarify doctrine and to heal the schism which had been caused by the activities of the antipope Anacletus II.’
    • ‘I don't know if the antipopes had anything to do with Tokyo Ya going out of business, but if they did, they should be ashamed.’
    • ‘Some say that these men should not be called antipopes, since they were not set up against the one chosen by church law.’
    • ‘The two most famous antipopes of the Orthodox period (both eventually reconciled to the canonical church) were St. Hippolytus of Rome and the scholar Anastasius Bibliothecarius.’
    • ‘The late 14th and early 15th century saw a series of rival popes elected, one line of which is counted by the Roman Catholic Church as popes and the other as antipopes.’
    • ‘Many of the popes called ‘Benedict’ were perhaps antipopes or even anti-antipopes.’
    • ‘Even the antipopes were rarely heretical.’
    • ‘In any event, the fact that antipopes rose to power at all points to more cracks in the walls of monolithic Roman Catholicism.’


Late Middle English antipape, via French from medieval Latin antipapa (on the pattern of Antichrist). The change in the ending in the 17th century was due to association with pope.