Advertisement

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.

Others are reading

Advertisement
Definitions of pontiff from WordNet

pontiff (n.)
the head of the Roman Catholic Church;
Synonyms: pope / Catholic Pope / Roman Catholic Pope / Holy Father / Vicar of Christ / Bishop of Rome
From wordnet.princeton.edu