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[pey-puh-see] /ˈpeɪ pə si/
noun, plural papacies. Roman Catholic Church
the office, dignity, or jurisdiction of the pope.
the system of ecclesiastical government in which the pope is recognized as the supreme head.
the period during which a certain pope is in office.
the succession or line of the popes.
1350-1400; Middle English papacie < Medieval Latin pāpātia. See pope, -acy
Related forms
antipapacy, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for papacy
  • Xenophobia is the preferred weapon against the adherents of the papacy.
  • But deflecting criticism has proved challenging for this papacy.
  • My specialty, if you can call it that, was the papacy.
  • The papacy came under the control of vying political factions.
British Dictionary definitions for papacy


noun (pl) -cies
the office or term of office of a pope
the system of government in the Roman Catholic Church that has the pope as its head
Word Origin
C14: from Medieval Latin pāpātia, from pāpapope1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for papacy

late 14c., from Medieval Latin papatia "papal office," from Late Latin papa "pope" (see pope). Old English had papdom in this sense.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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papacy in Culture

papacy definition

The office or position of the pope.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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