from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The office and jurisdiction of a pope.
  • n. The period of time during which a pope is in office.
  • n. A succession or line of popes: the Medici papacy.
  • n. Roman Catholic Church The system of church government headed by the pope.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The office of the pope.
  • n. The period of a particular pope's reign.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The office and dignity of the pope, or pontiff, of Rome; papal jurisdiction.
  • n. The popes, collectively; the succession of popes.
  • n. The Roman Catholic religion; -- commonly used by the opponents of the Roman Catholics in disparagement or in an opprobrious sense.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The office, dignity, and authority of the Pope or Bishop of Rome; the papal; jurisdiction; the ecclesiastical organization subject to the Pope.
  • n. The succession or line of popes, with its ecclesiastical and political traditions.
  • n. That system of ecclesiastical government which recognizes and is based upon the apostolic primacy and supreme authority of the Pope or Bishop of Rome over the church universal; the Church of Rome; the Roman Catholic Church.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the government of the Roman Catholic Church


Middle English papacie, from Medieval Latin pāpātia, from Late Latin pāpa, pope; see pope.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Circa 14th century, from Medieval Latin papatia, from Latin papa ("pope") + -tia ("office, rank") (English -cy). (Wiktionary)



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