Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pontificate - being a bridgemaker between here and the hereafter

pontificate (pon-TIF-i-kayt) verb intr.

To speak in a pompous and dogmatic manner.

[From Medieval Latin pontificatus, past participle of pontificare (to be an ecclesiastic), from ponti-, from pons (bridge) + facere (to make).]

So a pontifex (priest) was literally a bridge-maker between here and the hereafter. The verb pontificate comes from the reputation of a priest to speak bombastically.

This term ultimately originated from the Indo-European root pent- (to tread) that gave us other words such as English find, Dutch pad (path), French pont (bridge), and Russian sputnik (traveling companion).]

The word pontificate is pronounced as pon-TIF-i-kit when used as a noun to denote the office of a pontiff.

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