Definition of pontificate in English:



Pronunciation: /pänˈtifiˌkāt/
  • 1Express one's opinions in a way considered annoyingly pompous and dogmatic.

    ‘he was pontificating about art and history’
    • ‘Rather than pontificating about the evils of unions, he would be better served explaining how his laws contributed in a real way to the ugly situation occurring.’
    • ‘‘Stormy Waters, Pundit’ is a short cartoon featuring Sealab's resident dolt pontificating on a number of political topics.’
    • ‘Think of the herd as being similar to government: you just know that the drought is over when you get every state Premier sitting around a table pontificating about how we should all put a brick in the dunny.’
    • ‘Unless one is in that situation and really knows what it is like to face those sorts of family difficulties, one does not know what one is talking about when pontificating about cultural sensitivities.’
    • ‘Instead speakers from across the political spectrum pontificated over the ‘meaninglessness’ of official political reform efforts, listing countless reasons why the current regime has to go.’
    • ‘Mr. Rukeyser and Mr. Kudlow spend a lot of time pontificating publicly about the stock market, but I don't remember many responsible comments warning viewers in the midst of the frenzy of the danger of wild speculative excess.’
    • ‘Others pontificate on health, telling us what we should and should not do to remain well, while we are overwhelmed with financial advice from experts whose predictions often turn out wrong.’
    • ‘The occasional glimpses of the tumultuous moment - shooting of a Vietnamese in the street, dying U.S. soldiers, presidents pontificating - are gestures to headlines of the times.’
    • ‘It is possible to prattle and pontificate about the cultural relevance of the cheap romance novel, and how its development, like, totally reflects the changes to women's status in society.’
    • ‘He has spent the past two years using digital technology to bring together people in desperate straits, getting things done while others were pontificating.’
    • ‘It takes a heck of a lot more effort than pontificating about the evils of livestock.’
    • ‘While ‘top analysts’ are pontificating about 50 percent and 70 percent increases, the real increases here in Southern California are around 300 percent.’
    • ‘The rare footage of Zorn pontificating on his music and directing his various ensembles proves more intriguing than Heuermann's woolly-headed intrusions.’
    • ‘Although Congress has been pontificating about the challenges that confront Social Security for years, and years, and years, the fundamental financial structure of Social Security continues to decay.’
    • ‘There are even a few interviews with various folks and fans pontificating on stuff like ‘new wave bands’ and the various intricacies of their favorite rock groups.’
    • ‘Maybe that smashed window in the corporate box was actually the result of a disturbed football supporter who was watching Eddie pontificating on the subject of expectoration.’
    • ‘‘An Interview with Renny Harlin’ is a short section featuring director Harlin pontificating upon the effects, the cast and the script.’
    • ‘Even an additional CD or two with some of the best tracks would have been a way for viewers to hear some of these classic songs uninterrupted by Tom Petty pontificating about various musicians and movements.’
    • ‘Make sure everyone on your staff treats women the same way they'd treat men: They should be helpful and respectful and inquire as to need - rather than pontificating and telling her what they think is best for her.’
    • ‘He took his swings, watched by many, then stood around the batting cage pontificating about hitting, while other players went out to take fielding practice when their hitting was done.’
    hold forth, expound, declaim, preach, lay down the law, sound off, dogmatize, sermonize, moralize, pronounce, lecture, expatiate
    preachify, mouth off, spiel
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  • 2(in the Roman Catholic Church) officiate as bishop, especially at Mass.

    • ‘On the feast itself he pontificated at Mass and preached three times to the people.’
    • ‘As a Bishop he pontificated that night and consecrated the apostles bishops so they might say the Mass with him.’


Pronunciation: /pänˈtifikət/
  • (in the Roman Catholic Church) the office or tenure of pope or bishop.

    • ‘Next, we'll be discussing what's next for the Catholic Church with a leading expert on the pontificate.’
    • ‘Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni said: ‘Rome will grind to a halt to guarantee the full development of the demonstration of love for the pontificate, guaranteeing the maximum security for all the heads of state,’ he said.’


Late Middle English (as a noun): from Latin pontificatus, from pontifex (see pontifex). The verb dates from the early 19th century.