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1520s, "office of a bishop," noun of action from past participle stem of Medieval Latin pontificare (see pontificate (v.)). Meaning "something pontificated" is from 1925.
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).