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From Anglo-Norman, Old French suffragam, from (the stem of) Latin suffrāgium (suffrage).



suffragan (plural suffragans)

  1. A bishop seen in relation to his archbishop or metropolitan province (which may summon him for support, to attend synods etc.).
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter xiiij, in Le Morte Darthur, book XII:
      Now take your hors said sir Tristram And as ye say / soo hit shal be / and alle thyn euylle wil god forgyue it yow and I doo / And here within this myle is the suffrecan of Carleil that shalle gyue yow the sacrament of baptym
  2. An auxiliary bishop.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 3, in 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.”
    • 2015, GR Evans, Edward Hicks: Pacifist Bishop at War:
      A suffragan could share the tasks which were special to bishops; for example, by conducting confirmations.

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