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Old Believers use the word pope as a synonym for priest. However old believer popes or priests are usually addressed as babushka or father.

"An analogous head of another church or religious group. For example, the Patriarch of Alexandria is called "Pope Shenouda"." is misleading information: it is more vague than reality [only bishops of Rome or Alexandria are styled so: Archbishop of Constantinople is on the other hand not "Pope"], and may mislead the reader of the origin of this word. Pope of Alexandria is not analogous. Rather Rome is. Historically Papas was used in Alexandria at first (Eusebius, "History of Church"). Later Bishop of Rome bollowed, and in the Western church jurisdiction the original usage extinct. However in the Eastern Church, both Coptic and Eastern Orthodox, the Bishop/Patriarch or Alexandria is styled as "Pope of Alexandria". This entry should be rewritten. It is not analogous head of "another church". This is too much Catholic POV and Wiktionary is not Cathoric Dictionary. --Aphaia 08:43, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
You are missing the point. The word came to English from Latin specifically in the sense of "Bishop of Rome". It has been used in that way in English since Old English times. Whereas, the first recorded use of "Pope" to mean the head of the Coptic church is not until the 18th century in English, whatever the word's history in Greek. No, we are not a Catholic dictionary, but nor are we a dictionary of comparative religion - we are documenting the way this word has actually been used in English. Widsith 09:05, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
Point taken. And thank you for cleaning up, I am quite okay with the current version. A relevant question: if it is so obvious when the each usage appeared (and for English words, we have several references as OED), why not mention each date, even not its oldest usage?--Aphaia 10:16, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
That is definitely something we need to do. However, at present there is no consistent mechanism for adding dates to Wiktionary entries. It's something we hope to sort out soon. Widsith 13:08, 1 September 2007 (UTC)


In spanish link directs to potato-lemma We prefer capitals --Penarc 03:27, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Example for Second definition[edit]

Isn't he making a joke in the second example -- "I really did want to interview the pope. Any pope. I'm not particular" -- about the fact that there is only one pope, thus contradicting the definition given? —This unsigned comment was added by Gregcaletta (talkcontribs) at 02:55, 19 July 2009 (UTC).

No, but I also don't think it's an example of the meaning given as definition 2. I think what he meant was he really did want to interview the head of the Roman Catholic Church at some point in his career - whether that was Paul VI or John Paul I early in his (Koppel's) career (before Nightline), John Paul II during the bulk of his career, or Benedict XVI later on in his career. —Angr 11:55, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

RFV discussion: February–July 2015[edit]

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RFV of several senses which seem to have been copied or paraphrased from another dictionary, complete with that dictionary's "citations", which are just mentions in other dictionaries and wordlists and not, in most cases, actual uses.

  • (UK) The ruffe, a small Eurasian freshwater fish (Gymnocephalus cernua); others of its genus. (P)
  • (UK regional, obsolete) The grain weevil (Sitophilus granarius). (F)
  • (UK regional) The Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica).
  • (US regional) The painted bunting (Passerina ciris). (P)
  • (UK regional) The bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula). (F)
  • (UK regional, obsolete) The red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio). (F)

The English Dialect Dictionary, which sometimes has pointers to actual uses of words like this, specifies that the "weevil" sense was unknown to its correspondents, and although it has the "bullfinch", "shrike" and "puffin" senses, it offers no leads to actual uses. I tried various searches, like "catch popes" (compare "catch fish"), "red popes" ("red-back shrikes"), popes + weevils, popes + puffins, etc, and didn't see anything relevant. - -sche (discuss) 21:46, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

I'm also a bit sceptical that the "Guy Fawkes day" sense is really, as currently labelled, US. - -sche (discuss) 21:47, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
I know I'm RFVing a lot of things, but I've cited even more senses over the past few days than I've RFVed. (Vide gam, gom, gaum/gorm/goam/gawm, gaumy/gormy, gauming/gorming/gawming, gaumless/gormless/gawmless, gaumlessness/gormlessness, etc. and undermeal, flockmeal and mommick.) - -sche (discuss) 22:30, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
Right! Let's see what we can do.
1792, William Augustus Osbaldiston, The British Sportsman, Or, Nobleman, Gentleman and Farmer's Dictionary of Recreation and Amusement, page 176:
Byfleet-river, wherein are very large pikes, jack, and tench ; perch, of eighteen inches long ; good carp, large flounders, bream, roach, dace, gudgeons, popes, large chub, and eels.
1862, Francis T. Buckland, Curiosities of Natural History, page 230:
It resembles the perch (unfortunately for itself) in having a very long and prickly fin on its back, advantage of which is taken by the boys about Windsor, who are very fond of 'plugging a pope.' This operation consists in fixing a bung in the sharp spines on the poor pope's back fin, and then throwing him into the water.
1865 January 14, Astley H. Baldwin, "Small Fry" in Once a Week, page 105:
Popes are caught whilst gudgeon-fishing with the red worm, but they are sometimes a great nuisance to the perch-fisher, as they take the minnow.
puffin (no direct citations, but three indirect ones - 1822 shows that it was a common enough word to be crystalized in a toponym, and a check of the OS map shows that the name "Pope's Hole" is official and still current, so it must have had some serious use):
1822, George Woodley, A view of the present state of the Scilly Islands, page 264-5:
"About a hundred yards further North" says Troutbeck, "is a 'subterraneous' cavern called the Pope's Hole, about fifty fathoms under the ground, into which the sea flows, so called from a sort of bird which roosts in it by night, about ninety feet high above the level of the water."!! [...] It derives its name from its being a place of shelter to some puffins, vulgo "popes".
1864, Charles Issac Elton, Norway: The Road and the Fell, page 94:
The Norsemen catch great numbers of these popes, parrots, or lunder, as they are variously named, and train dogs to go into the holes where the puffin has its nest, lying in it with feet in the air.
1874, J. Van Voorst, Zoologist: A Monthly Journal of Natural History, page 3904:
I was informed by a fisherman that there were now hundreds of gannets in the channel off Plymouth, and that he had also met with some puffins (which he called "popes") [Technically, a mention, but it's quoting speech]
Also lots of mentions such as this and this.
painted bunting (probably mistranslations of the French name, pape):
1771, M. Bossu, Travels Through that Part of North America Formerly Called Louisiana, Volume 1, page 371:
The Pope is of a bright blue round the head ; on the throat it is of a fine red, and on the back of a gold green colour, it sings very finely and is the size of a canary bird.
1806, Berquin-Duvallon, Travels in Louisiana and the Floridas, in the Year, 1802: Giving a Correct Picture of Those Countries, page 122:
The birds [of Louisiana] are the partridge, cardinal and pope, and a species of mocking bird, called the nightingale.
1821 Édouard de Montulé, A Voyage to North America, and the West Indies in 1817, page 54:
[...] some others, such as the crow, the heron, and the wild goose, which are found in Europe, I also observed ; but the most beautiful are the pope bird, whose head seems bound with the most bright azure blue, and the cardinal, being entirely of dazzling scarlet [...]
Dominican cardinal (aka crestless cardinal or red-cowled cardinal):
1864 August 6, The Journal of Horticulture, Cottage Gardener, and Country Gentleman, page 100:
From the sketch of the bird which you have sent us, there is no doubt about its being the Pope Grosbeak, which is a species of the Cardinal, but not the crested one.
1883, William Thomas Greene, The amateur's aviary of foreign birds: or, How to keep and breed foreign birds, page 96:
The Pope is a native of Brazil, and the female (it is altogether incongrouous to think of a lady pontiff) exactly resembles her mate
1895, A. A. Thom, "Dominican cardinals" in The Avicultural Magazine, page 128:
SIR,—I should be glad to learn how to treat Pope birds (Crestless Cardinals) when nesting.
1898, The Avicultural Magazine, Volume 4, page 87:
Besides the Bicheno's Finches in this Class, the judge disqualified, in other Classes, a pair of Magpie Mannikins and a pair of Popes. These entries were presumably all disqualified on the ground that they were not true pairs: they are all birds in which the outward differences between the sexes (if there be any outward difference at all) are of an extremely slight and uncertain nature
1956, Foreign birds for cage and aviary, Volume 4, page 20:
The wisest plan is always to keep the Pope Cardinal in an aviary, and to have only one pair to each aviary.
No luck yet on bullfinches, shrikes or weevils. Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:35, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Citing obsolete dialect is rather hard, but one cite for bullfinch can be found in a Dorset parish church's records, which records:
payment of one shilling per dozen for "popes, pops, or poops' heads."
which as Notes & Queries writers point out was almost certainly referring to bullfinches. Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:40, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
The "ruffe" and "bunting" citations are great! The "puffin" citations are iffy. The "weevil" and "bullfinch" citations in the entry continue to be mentions, but your Dorset church record looks like a good citation of it — though it's amusing they bothered to write out all three spellings. Great job finding that "cardinal" sense! Ha, it's as if the bird got a promotion: it was a cardinal, now it's a pope. - -sche (discuss) 01:31, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
Two more citations for pope as puffin, slightly better than the ones we have above. I personally think the sense is cited now (these two, plus the "Pope's Hole" quote and possibly the quote of fisherman show actual use).
1759, "Linnæus's Systema Naturæ", The Gentleman's Magazine, page 456:
Alca genus; 6 species, including the razorbill, the penguin, the pope, and others.
1773, John Hill, "Alca", A General Natural History, volume 3, page 442:
The Pope: This is a very singular bird; it is about the size of our widgeon, or somewhat larger, but is not quite so large as the duck: the head is large and rounded; the eyes are small, and stand forward on the head, and lower down than in the generality of birds [...]
No luck on the other senses - having checked the OED, they cite the same dictionaries we do. Incidentally, it looks like the "Pope's Day" sense is indeed American - the OED gives two citations, one from the diary of John Adams and one from the Boston Chronicle. Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:24, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
Weevil, bullfinch and shrike senses: RFV-failed. - -sche (discuss) 06:47, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

Various dictionaries mention that the "puffin" sense was used in Cumberland, Cornwall, Devon, and Scotland / the Frith of Forth. One says "the name, which is still in use as pope or popey duck from St. Ives to Land's End (Glossary of Cornish Sea-Words), undoubtedly belonged to the Cornish language." - -sche (discuss) 07:13, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

Meh, puffin sense rfv-passed. - -sche (discuss) 21:08, 12 July 2015 (UTC)