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n. pl. pon·tif·i·ces (pŏn-tĭf′ĭ-sēz′)
A man on the highest council of priests in ancient Rome.

[Latin; see pent- in Indo-European roots.]


n, pl pontifices (pɒnˈtɪfɪˌsiːz)
(Historical Terms) (in ancient Rome) any of the senior members of the Pontifical College, presided over by the Pontifex Maximus
[C16: from Latin, perhaps from Etruscan but influenced by folk etymology as if meaning literally: bridge-maker, from pons bridge + -fex from facere to make]


(ˈpɒn təˌfɛks)

n., pl. pon•tif•i•ces (pɒnˈtɪf əˌsiz)
a member of the highest body of priests in ancient Rome.
[1570–80; < Latin: appar. literally, path-maker =ponti-, comb. form of pōns bridge, probably orig., path + -fex -fex]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.pontifex - a member of the highest council of priests in ancient Rome
capital of Italy, Eternal City, Italian capital, Rome, Roma - capital and largest city of Italy; on the Tiber; seat of the Roman Catholic Church; formerly the capital of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire
priest - a clergyman in Christian churches who has the authority to perform or administer various religious rites; one of the Holy Orders
antiquity - the historic period preceding the Middle Ages in Europe
References in periodicals archive ?
The title of Pontifex Maximus is celebrated on 6 March (3.
In 63 BCE, after returning from Gaul, Julius Caesar was elected Pontifex Maximus, a post he held until at least 46 BCE.
He has added references to imperial sculpture (Augustus as general, but not as pontifex maximus or as heroic nude, and none about later emperors) and architecture (Augustus' mausoleum, but not the Ara Pacis).
Thus, Callistus (bishop in Rome who, although by no means a pope as bishop, has appropriated authority over other bishops as episcopus episcoporum) is seen by Tertullian as behaving like a pagan Pontifex Maximus.