- pontiff:  In ancient Rome, members of the highest college of priests were known by the epithet pontifex. This looks as though it should mean ‘bridgemaker’ (as if it were formed from Latin pōns ‘bridge’ – source of English pontoon – with the suffix -fex, from facere ‘make’), but no one has ever been able to make any sense of this, and it is generally assumed that it originated as a loan-word, perhaps from Etruscan, and was subsequently adapted by folk etymology to pontifex.
It was adopted into Christian usage in the sense ‘bishop’. The pope was the ‘sovereign pontifex’, and in due course pontifex came to designate the ‘pope’ himself. The word passed into French as pontife, from which English gets pontiff.
- pontiff (n.)
- c. 1600, "high priest," from French pontif (early 16c.), from Latin pontifex, title of a Roman high priest (see pontifex). Used for "bishop" in Church Latin, but not recorded in that sense in English until 1670s, specifically "the bishop of Rome," the pope. Pontifical, however, is used with this sense from mid-15c.
- 1. The Pontiff celebrated mass in Mexico City.
- 2. It will mark his first visit to the US as pontiff.
- 3. The 82 - year - old pontiff made the comments in his weekly appearance in St.
- 4. The Pontiff also urged dialogue and brotherhood between faiths.
- 5. The pontiff's critics grumbled that he had not really apologised.
[ pontiff 造句 ]