A pontiff (from Latin pontifex) was, in Roman antiquity, a member of the most illustrious of the colleges of priests of the Roman religion, the College of Pontiffs.[1][2] The term "pontiff" was later applied to any high or chief priest and, in Roman Catholic ecclesiastical usage, to a bishop and more particularly to the Bishop of Rome, the Pope or "Roman Pontiff".[3]


The English term derives through Old French pontif[3][4] from Latin pontifex, a word commonly held to come from the Latin root words pons (bridge) + facere (to do, to make), and so to have the literal meaning of "bridge-builder". This may be only a folk etymology,[1] but it may also recall antique tasks and magic rites associated with bridges.[5]

Other Languages
български: Понтифекс
čeština: Pontifex
Deutsch: Pontifex
eesti: Pontifeks
español: Pontífice
Esperanto: Pontifiko
français: Pontife
hrvatski: Pontifex
italiano: Pontefice
ქართული: პონტიფიკები
Latina: Pontifex
Nederlands: Pontifex
polski: Pontyfik
português: Pontífice
русский: Понтифик
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Pontifeks
українська: Понтифік