- The Vatican said the pontiff has been cured of the flu-related breathing problems that landed him there.
- The Pope made history yesterday by becoming the first pontiff to cross the Tiber to address the Italian parliament.
- The last pope to hold the name of Benedict was an Italian whose reign from 1914 to 1922 encompassed World War I.
Late 17th century: from French pontife, from Latin pontifex (see pontifex).
Referring to the pope, this word is from French pontife, from Latin pontifex meaning literally ‘bridge-maker’ but used in ancient Rome as a term for a member of the principal college of priests. This also gives us pontificate (Late Middle English). The use ‘express opinions in a pompous way’ dates from the early 19th century. The same pont- ‘bridge’ element is found in pontoon (late 16th century). See also at punt
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