Definition of papacy in English:



usually in singular
  • 1The office or authority of the Pope.

    ‘relations between the English state and the papacy’
    ‘a papacy in decline’
    • ‘In 1309, a French pope moved the papacy (office of the pope) from Rome to Avignon in what is now France.’
    • ‘Italian painter of the Umbrian School whose most important work in Rome and Siena celebrated the renewed authority of the papacy.’
    • ‘Those who think little of the papacy or the Catholic Church can blame Pope Innocent III.’
    • ‘But the kings also increasingly invoked the authority of the papacy as a source of legitimacy rather then popular acclamation.’
    • ‘Yet even as the papacy extended its universal authority, it might also contribute to the creation of national, secular identities.’
    1. 1.1The tenure of office of a pope.
      ‘during the papacy of Pope John’
      • ‘Innocent used, or threatened, interdicts some 85 times during his papacy.’
      • ‘Throughout his papacy. Pope Pius XII was almost universally, regarded as a saintly man, a scholar, a man of peace, a tower of strength, and a compassionate defender and protector of all victims of the war and genocide that had drenched Europe in blood.’


Late Middle English from medieval Latin papatia, from papa ‘pope’.