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[n. pon-tif-i-kit, -keyt; v. pon-tif-i-keyt] /n. pɒnˈtɪf ɪ kɪt, -ˌkeɪt; v. pɒnˈtɪf ɪˌkeɪt/
the office or term of office of a pontiff.
verb (used without object), pontificated, pontificating.
to perform the office or duties of a pontiff.
to speak in a pompous or dogmatic manner:
Did he pontificate about the responsibilities of a good citizen?
to serve as a bishop, especially in a Pontifical Mass.
1575-85; (noun) < Latin pontificātus; see pontifical, -ate3; (v.) < Medieval Latin pontificātus past participle of pontificāre to be an ecclesiastic; see -ate1
Related forms
pontification, noun
pontificator, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pontificating
  • We all make money one way or the other, so stop pontificating about who is better and get back to the basics.
  • Suddenly the headlines were downbeat, and pundits were pontificating about the political implications of a stalled labor market.
  • And you've seen all the pundits pontificating and talking over each other on the cable shows, and they're yelling and shouting.
  • And this hypocritical pontificating is getting to be up to here.
  • The other shoe dropped in the publishing and pontificating businesses yesterday.
  • In other words, sir, you are barking up the wrong tree pontificating about cameras.
  • It isn't a pontificating work, and the wit writer hasn't disappeared.
British Dictionary definitions for pontificating


verb (intransitive) (pɒnˈtɪfɪˌkeɪt)
to speak or behave in a pompous or dogmatic manner Also (less commonly) pontify (ˈpɒntɪˌfaɪ)
to serve or officiate as a pontiff, esp in celebrating a Pontifical Mass
noun (pɒnˈtɪfɪkɪt)
the office or term of office of a pontiff, now usually the pope
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 pontificating



1818, "to act as a pontiff," from Medieval Latin pontificatus, past participle of pontificare "to be a pontifex," from Latin pontifex (see pontiff). Meaning "to assume pompous and dignified airs, issue dogmatic decrees" is from 1825. Meaning "to say (something) in a pontifical way" is from 1922. Related: Pontificated; pontificating.


1580s, from Latin pontificatus "office of a pontiff," from pontifex (see pontifex).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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