Definition of pallium in US English:



  • 1A woolen vestment conferred by the Pope on an archbishop, consisting of a narrow circular band placed round the shoulders with a short lappet hanging from front and back.

    • ‘The encouragement of pilgrimage and papal investiture of bishops with the pallium (the symbol of office), as recorded enthusiastically by Bede, were among the means used to secure the ‘Romanizing’ of Christianity.’
    • ‘Within a short time of his election, a formal inauguration ceremony takes place, at which the woollen pallium is bestowed upon him.’
    • ‘As part of the unending dispute between Canterbury and York he refused consecration in 1114 by the archbishop of Canterbury and was eventually consecrated at Rheims, receiving the pallium from Pope Calixtus II.’
    • ‘Papal policy might also be conveyed via bishops who visited Rome to attend synods or, in the case of metropolitans, to collect their pallium, the stole that signified their authority.’
    • ‘If the degradandus be an archbishop, the degrading prelate removes his pallium.’
    • ‘There is the one on whom Gregory bestowed the pallium, the symbol of Catholic unity and oversight.’
    • ‘In 1061 he travelled to Rome again in order to obtain his pallium as archbishop of York.’
    • ‘Among the most important parts of the mass to bless Benedict XVI will be when he receives his Fisherman's Ring and the pallium, a narrow stole of white wool embroidered with five red silk crosses, pinned with three jewelled gold pins.’
  • 2historical A man's large rectangular cloak, especially as worn by Greek philosophical and religious teachers.

    • ‘It is a freestanding bronze figure in a pallium; it reverberated, overwhelmingly, with antique associations.’
    • ‘The one figure that remains to be reconsidered within this arrangement of matter in Rubens's painting is the Pan flanked by a pinelike tree and draped with a cloak resembling a Greek pallium.’
    • ‘The double cloak here is the diplois, the pallium, doubled in length, worn without the underlying tunic or any other undergarment by ascetics and Cynic philosophers.’
    • ‘On the bronze statue now in Milan, the very work Carpaccio used as his model, the pedestal carries a dense motif of foliage, and the hem of Christ's pallium drops down sharply below the level of his feet.’
  • 3Zoology
    The mantle of a mollusk or brachiopod.

    • ‘In ray-finned fishes, however, the pallium thickens and everts, so that the initial most dorsal pallial segment comes to lie lateral to the remaining pallium.’
    • ‘The soft parts of bivalves are divided into five groups: mantle or pallium, gills, foot and byssus, muscles, and visceral mass.’
    • ‘In contrary to those two shell layers produced in the apertural area of the shell, there is another which is made all over the pallium (mantle) on the inside of the shell.’
  • 4Anatomy
    The cerebral cortex, especially of a mammal.

    • ‘In mammals, the components are incorporated into the thin overlying pallium to form a laminated neocortex.’
    • ‘Differences in the relative topography of pallial marker genes also define different regions of the pallium, which can be partially traced into the amygdala.’


Middle English: from Latin, literally ‘covering’.