Definition of papist in US English:



  • 1A Roman Catholic.

    • ‘Pym delivered a hard-line speech denouncing the king's trade embargo and playing the religion card: the king's armies, he alleged, were riddled with papists.’
    • ‘She is the only child in a family that has been papist since the days of Saint Patrick.’
    • ‘Priests and nuns were known to kidnap Baptists and force them to become papists.’
    • ‘In November of that year the newly appointed Anglican Archbishop of Armagh, James Ussher, and his suffragan bishops issued a statement declaring that the ‘religion of papists is superstitious and idolatrous erroneous and heretical.’’
    • ‘Past historians evaluated him either as a secret papist who corrupted the church or as the martyr of true Anglicanism.’
    1. 1.1
      another term for papalist
      • ‘He acknowledged that some would accuse him of being a papist who wanted to introduce Roman Catholicism into the diocese because of his support of Sellon and her orphanage.’


  • Relating to or associated with the Roman Catholic Church.

    • ‘The play deals, in effect, with prejudicial notions about papist belief, and Calvinist critiques of that belief system, mediated and popularised into commonly held views that would find natural assent from a contemporary audience.’
    • ‘These catholic or papist communities survived and developed by resistance to legal proscription by penal laws, eventually lifted in the late 18th and early 19th cents.’
    • ‘But, in spite of the labours of the past 50 years by Evangelicals, Mexico is still a country ‘more papist than the pope’.’
    • ‘This movie was made by a devoted Roman Catholic with the advice of papist theologians, and is endorsed by Pope John Paul II.’


Mid 16th century: from French papiste or modern Latin papista, from ecclesiastical Latin papa ‘bishop (of Rome)’.