9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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.
Origin of pontificate
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 pontification
  • Science and science journals are no places for such pontification.
  • Please get an education before you engage in pontification.
  • It's brave to write an essay on this topic, which inspires so much pontification and bloviation.
  • But when your ideals cross the line from practice to pontification, you've gone too far.
  • Generalizations are made all the time, and your own pontification is literally littered with them.
British Dictionary definitions for pontification


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 pontification

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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