Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English bishop, from Old English biscop (bishop), from Vulgar Latin *biscopus, from Latin episcopus (overseer, supervisor), from Ancient Greek ἐπίσκοπος (episkopos, overseer), from ἐπί (epi, over) + σκοπέω (skopeō, I examine). Cognate with West Frisian biskop (bishop), Dutch bisschop (bishop), German Bischof (bishop), Swedish biskop (bishop), Norwegian biskop (bishop), Icelandic biskup (bishop), Gothic [script?] (aipiskaupus, bishop).

Alternative forms[edit]



bishop (plural bishops)

Wikipedia has an article on:


A Staunton bishop (chess)
  1. A high-ranking official in the Catholic church who governs a diocese, or a similar official in other denominations and religions. (Occasionally abbreviated as Bp. when used as a title.)
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 3, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      One saint's day in mid-term a certain newly appointed suffragan-bishop came to the school chapel, and there preached on “The Inner Life.”
  2. (chess) A piece that may be moved only diagonally.
    The bishop is confined to squares of a single color.
  3. A spiritual overseer, superintendent, or director.
    • Bible, 1 Peter ii. 25
      Ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
    • J. B. Lightfoot
      It is a fact now generally recognized by theologians of all shades of opinion, that in the language of the New Testament the same officer in the church is called indifferently "bishop" and "elder" or "presbyter".
  4. A drink made from wine, oranges or lemons, and sugar.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Jonathan Swift to this entry?)
  5. (US, archaic) A woman's bustle.
    • Saxe
      If, by her bishop, or her grace alone, / A genuine lady, or a church, is known.
  6. (slang) Penis (see bash the bishop).
Related terms[edit]
Coordinate terms[edit]

See also[edit]


bishop (third-person singular simple present bishops, present participle bishoping, simple past and past participle bishoped)

  1. (now historical) To admit into the church by confirmation; to confirm.
    • 1971, Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, Folio Society 2012, p. 35:
      Here too physical effects were vulgarly attributed to the ceremony […] as evidenced by the case of the old Norfolk woman who claimed to have been ‘bishopped’ seven times, because she found it helped her rheumatism.

Etymology 2[edit]

From the surname of the person who first practised it.


bishop (third-person singular simple present bishops, present participle bishoping, simple past and past participle bishoped)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To make (a horse) seem younger, by cutting its teeth short, then scooping out an oval cavity in the corner nippers and burning it black with a hot iron.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of J. H. Walsh to this entry?)

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.