Definition of pontifex in English:



  • (in ancient Rome) a member of the principal college of priests.

    • ‘All this may look democratic, but in 300 he opposed the admission of plebeians to the two main priestly colleges (pontifices and augures) and on two occasions attempted to secure the election of an all-patrician college.’
    • ‘It took their priesthood, their pontifex, their pontiff, and gave it a whole new meaning, a whole new level.’
    • ‘Truly it points to Jesus as pontifex, mediator, broker, and priest uniting both God and the disciples.’
    • ‘Which is what pontiff or pontifex means, a bridge-builder.’
    • ‘Other NT writings call Jesus ‘mediator’ and ‘priest’, two different ways of explaining Jesus' pontifex role.’


Latin, from pons, pont- ‘bridge’ + -fex from facere ‘make’.