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[mon-see-nyer; Italian mawn-see-nyawr] /mɒnˈsi nyər; Italian ˌmɔn siˈnyɔr/
noun, plural Monsignors Italian, Monsignori
[mawn-see-nyaw-ree] /ˌmɔn siˈnyɔ ri/ (Show IPA).
Roman Catholic Church
a title conferred upon certain prelates.
a person bearing this title.
Also, monsignor.
1635-45; < Italian < French Monseigneur monseigneur; see signor
Related forms
[mon-seen-yawr-ee-uh l, -yohr-] /ˌmɒn sinˈyɔr i əl, -ˈyoʊr-/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for Monsignor


/mɒnˈsiːnjə; Italian monsiɲˈɲor/
noun (pl) Monsignors, Monsignori (Italian) (monsiɲˈɲoːri)
(RC Church) an ecclesiastical title attached to certain offices or distinctions usually bestowed by the Pope Abbreviation Mgr, Msgr
Word Origin
C17: from Italian, from French Monseigneur
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for Monsignor



title conferred on some prelates, 1640s, from Italian monsignore "my lord," formed on model of French monseigneur (see monseigneur) from equivalent elements in Italian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for Monsignor


a title of honour in the Roman Catholic Church, borne by persons of ecclesiastic rank and implying a distinction bestowed by the pope, either in conjunction with an office or merely titular. All those who bear the title of monsignor belong to the "papal family" and are entitled to be present in the Cappella Pontificia (when the pope celebrates solemn mass) and to participate in all public religious and social celebrations, wearing the robes corresponding to their respective offices. The ecclesiastics who have a right to the title of monsignor are (1) patriarchs, archbishops, and bishops, who are addressed as "most reverend monsignor," (2) apostolic protonotaries and domestic prelates, who are addressed as "right reverend monsignor," and (3) private chamberlains, who are addressed as "very reverend monsignor" and lose their honorific title at the death of the pope.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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