Definition of suffragan in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsəfrəɡən/
(also suffragan bishop or bishop suffragan)


1A bishop appointed to help a diocesan bishop.
Example sentences
  • All 44 diocesan bishops and 10 suffragans were asked to attend the meeting to discuss October's Windsor Report, a document produced to examine the crisis.
  • The archbishops, 42 diocesan bishops and 69 suffragan or full-time assistant bishops cost the church a grand total of £14.3m during 2003, the figures show.
  • She was the first woman to rise to the position of suffragan, or assistant, bishop at the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts - a position previously reserved for men.
1.1A bishop in relation to his archbishop or metropolitan.
Example sentences
  • In 1808, Pope Pius VII made Baltimore an archdiocese, with suffragan bishops in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Bardstown, Kentucky.


Late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French and Old French, representing medieval Latin suffraganeus 'assistant (bishop)', from Latin suffragium (see suffrage).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: suf·fra·gan

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