The StoryFor many years I have used the word pontificate and heard others do the same, to indicate when someone is rambling or talking incessantly on a subject. Others would use the phrase 'talking to death' a subject.
Recently, (well, last night), a friend asked me what the word meant as I had just used it in conversation when refering to myself. When a definition was requested of me I had one of those Emperor's New Clothes moments and suddenly wondered if I had been using the word in the wrong context.
Fortunately, I have a very large Webster's Dictionary and was able to look up the word there and then.
I was rather suprised, therefore, to find the first of the three definitions above. Indeed, as my Dictionary is considerable I was able to tell that 'pontificate' was a derivative of 'pontifex' which is the name of a Roman High Priest, Pontifex Maximus, who was head of the Roman College of Priests, (every city should have one).
It was only today (Fri 2003 Jan 10) when I looked up the word on dict.org I found the definition I originally perceived and then right at the bottom. It follows:
talk in a dogmatic and pompous manner; "The new professor always pontificates"Well, a version of my assumption, at least.
Hey-ho. I stand victorious and shall go forth and conquer.
From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) : Pontificate \Pon*tif"i*cate\, n. [L. pontificatus: cf. F. pontificat. See Pontiff.] 1. The state or dignity of a high priest; specifically, the office of the pope. --Addison. 2. The term of office of a pontiff. --Milman. From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) : Pontificate \Pon*tif"i*cate\, v. i. (R. C. Ch.) To perform the duty of a pontiff. From WordNet (r) 1.7 : pontificate n : the government of the Roman Catholic Church [syn: papacy] v 1: administer a pontifical office 2: talk in a dogmatic and pompous manner; "The new professor always pontificates"results from a search on dict.org
|This page currently appears on the
11th page of results returned for the
search on the word 'pontificate'.
Help push it up!
(I don't know why. It just seems like fun.)
Back to rjjm's page
Copyright (c) 2003 Robin Mayfield. All rights reserved.