Definition of papacy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpāpəsē/

noun (plural papacies)

(usually the papacy)
1The office or authority of the Pope.
Example sentences
  • In 1309, a French pope moved the papacy (office of the pope) from Rome to Avignon in what is now France.
  • Italian painter of the Umbrian School whose most important work in Rome and Siena celebrated the renewed authority of the papacy.
  • Those who think little of the papacy or the Catholic Church can blame Pope Innocent III.
1.1The tenure of office of a pope: during the papacy of Pope John
More example sentences
  • Innocent used, or threatened, interdicts some 85 times during his papacy.
  • Throughout his papacy. Pope Pius XII was almost universally, regarded as a saintly man, a scholar, a man of peace, a tower of strength, and a compassionate defender and protector of all victims of the war and genocide that had drenched Europe in blood.


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin papatia, from papa 'pope'.

  • pope from Old English:

    The word pope came via ecclesiastical Latin from ecclesiastical Greek papas ‘bishop, patriarch’, a variant of Greek pappas ‘father’. From the same root came Late Middle English papal and papacy, and mid 16th-century papist. Patriarch (Middle English) is from Old French patriarche, via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek patriarkhēs: formed from patria ‘family’ and arkhēs ‘ruling’. Patriot (late 16th century) and patriotic (mid 17th century) go back to a related Greek patris ‘fatherland’. These are connected with English papa (late 17th century) for ‘father’ and mum, all being based on the early babbling sounds produced by infants, as is daddy (Late Middle English). See also pattern

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pa·pa·cy

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