Definition of pontificate in English:

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Pronunciation: /pɒnˈtɪfɪkeɪt/
[no object]
1Express one’s opinions in a pompous and dogmatic way: he was pontificating about art and history
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
hold forth, expound, declaim, preach, lay down the law, express one's opinion (pompously), sound off, spout (off), dogmatize, sermonize, moralize, pronounce, lecture, expatiate
informal preachify, mouth off, spiel
rare perorate
2(In the Roman Catholic Church) officiate as bishop, especially at Mass: he pontificated at three Christmas Masses
More example sentences
  • 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: /pɒnˈtɪfɪkət/
(In the Roman Catholic Church) the office or period of office of a pope or bishop: Pope Gregory VIII enjoyed only a ten-week pontificate
More example sentences
  • One preliminary point: this will not be made a dogma of the Church during this pontificate since this Pope is not inclined to do anything that would be perceived as a unilateral action apart from the Eastern bishops.
  • Before that can be done well, I think, the archives of Pius XII's pontificate will probably have to be fully catalogued and opened.
  • Later this month the church's 184 cardinals will gather at the Vatican for the sixth consistory of Pope John Paul II's pontificate.



Pronunciation: /ˈkeɪʃ(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • Sociological accounts of the Indian village community also contradict Marxist pontifications on the subject.
  • Of course, I don't agree with many of their pontifications.
  • Fifth, the remedy cannot be pompous pontification or moral policing.


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

Words that rhyme with pontificate

certificate certificate

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pon|tifi|cate

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