If you ever listen to talk radio you'll hear some fairly pontifical talk going on — that is, puffed up, vain, overblown speech from someone convinced he alone is right.

Pontifical also has a strictly religious meaning, in the sense of anything related to the Pope since the Pope is also known as the Pontiff, or supreme head of the Roman Catholic church. Because Catholic doctrine regards the Pope's official decrees as incapable of being wrong, his pontifical utterances are therefore deemed infallible.

Definitions of pontifical

adj proceeding from or ordered by or subject to a pope or the papacy regarded as the successor of the Apostles

adj denoting or governed by or relating to a bishop or bishops


adj puffed up with vanity

“"pseudo-scientific gobbledygook and pontifical hooey"- Newsweek”
grandiloquent, overblown, pompous, portentous
making claim to or creating an appearance of (often undeserved) importance or distinction

n the vestments and other insignia of a pontiff (especially a bishop)

Type of:
gown (especially ceremonial garments) worn by the clergy

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.