Pronunciation Noun
  1. (Christianity) An overseer of congregations: either any such overseer, generally speaking, or (in Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Anglicanism, etc.) an official in the church hierarchy (actively or nominally) governing a diocese, supervising the church's priests, deacons, and property in its territory.
    • 1641, ‘Smectymnuus’, Vindic. Answer Hvmble Remonstr., §16. 208
      King James of blessed memory said, no Bishop, no King: it was not he, but others that added, No Ceremony, no Bishop.
    • 1715, William Hendley, A Defence of the Church of England, 16
      St. Ignatius... In his 'Epiſtle to the Magneſians,' he exhorts them to do all things in the love of God, telling them, the Biſhop preſides in the place of God...
    • 1845, J. Lingard, Hist. & Antiq. Anglo-Saxon Church 3rd ed., I. iv. 146
      These ministers were at first confined to the three orders of bishops, priests, and deacons.
    • 1868, Joseph Barber Lightfoot, St. Paul's epistle to the Philippians, 93
      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’ ἐπίσκοπος and ‘elder’ or ‘presbyter’ πρεσβύτερος.
    1. (religion, nonstandard) A similar official or chief priest in another religion.
      • 1586, Thomas Bowes translating Pierre de la Primaudaye's The French Academie, I. 633
        The Caliphaes of the Sarasins were kings and chiefe bishops in their religion.
      • 1615, William Bedwell, Arabian Trudgman in translating Mohammedis Imposturæ, sig. N4
        The Byshop of Egypt is called the Souldan.
      • 2001, José Carlos Valle Pérez, Jorge Rodrigues, El arte románico en Galicia y Portugal, page 254:
        […] which explains the beheading of the Muslim Bishop of Lisbon, soon after the Reconquista.
      • 2018, Merran Fraenkel, Tribe and Class in Monrovia, page 139:
        The [holder of the office of] Imam [of Monrovia] is commonly referred to, both in conversation and in the press, as ‘the Muslim Bishop’.
  2. (obsolete) The holder of the Greek or Roman position of episcopus, supervisor over the public dole of grain, etc.
    • 1808, The Monthly Magazine and British Register, 26 109
      They gave away corn, not cash; and Cicero was made bishop, or overseer, of this public victualling.
  3. (obsolete) Any watchman, inspector, or overlooker.
    • 1592, Lancelot Andrewes, Sermons (1843), v. 516
      No pinnacle so high but the devil is a bishop over it, to visit and overlook it.
  4. A chief of the Festival of Fools or St. Nicholas Day.
  5. (chess) The chess piece denoted ♗ or ♝ which moves along diagonal lines and developed from the shatranj alfil ("elephant") and was originally known as the aufil or archer in English.
    • 1562, Rowbotham in Archaeologia, XXIV. 203
      The Bishoppes some name Alphins, some fooles, and some name them Princes; other some call them Archers.
    • 1656, Francis Beale translating Gioachino Greco as The royall game of chesse-play, being the study of Biochimo, 2
      A Bishop or Archer, who is commonly figured with his head cloven.
  6. Any of various African birds of the genus Euplectes; a kind of weaverbird closely related to the widowbirds.
  7. (dialectal) A ladybug or ladybird, beetles of the family Coccinellidae.
    • 1875, William Douglas Parish, A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect
      Bishop, Bishop-Barnabee,
      Tell me when my wedding shall be;
      If it be to-morrow day,
      Ope your wings and fly away.
  8. A sweet drink made from wine, usually with oranges, lemons, and sugar; mulled and spiced port.
    • ante 1745, Jonathan Swift, Women who cry Apples in Works (1746), VIII. 192
      Well roasted, with Sugar and Wine in a Cup,
      They'll make a sweet Bishop.
    • 1791, J. Boswell, Life of Johnson, anno 1752 I. 135
      A bowl of that liquor called Bishop, which Johnson had always liked.
    • 1801, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Poems, II. 169
      Spicy bishop, drink divine.
  9. (US, archaic) A bustle.
    • circa 1860 John Saxe, Progress
      If, by her bishop, or her 'grace' alone,
      A genuine lady, or a church, is known.
  10. (UK, dialectal, archaic) A children's smock or pinafore.
    • 1874, Evelyn Waugh in Lanc. Gloss. (E.D.S.)
      Here; tak him, an wesh him; an' put him a clen bishop on.
Synonyms Related terms Translations Translations Verb

bishop (bishops, present participle bishoping; past and past participle bishoped)

  1. (Christianity) To act as a bishop, to perform the duties of a bishop, especially to confirm another's membership in the church.
    • circa 1000 Thorpe's Laws, II. 348 (Bosw.)
      Se bisceop biþ gesett... to bisceopgenne cild.
    • circa 1315 Shoreham, 5
      Wanne the bisschop, bisschopeth the
      Tokene of marke he set on the.
    • 1622, W. Yonge, Diary (1848), 50
      The Marquis of Buckingham and his wife were both bishopped, or confirmed by the Bishop of London.
    • 1655, T. Fuller, Church-hist. Brit., ix. 81
      Harding and Saunders Bishop it in England.
    • 1971, Keith Thomas (historian), Religion and the Decline of Magic, Folio Society 2012, page 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.
    1. (by extension, jocularly, obsolete) To confirm (in its other senses).
      • 1596, W. Warner, Albions Eng., x. liv. 243
        Why sent they it by Felton to be bishoped at Paules?
      • 1700, John Dryden translating Boccaccio's Cymon & Iphigenia in Fables, 550
        He... chose to bear The Name of Fool confirm'd, and Bishop'd by the Fair.
  2. (Christianity) To make a bishop.
    • 1549, H. Latimer, 2nd Serm. before Kynges Maiestie, 5th Serm. sig. Pviv
      Thys hathe bene often tymes... sene in preachers before they were byshoppyd or benificed.
    • 1861 November 23, Sat. Rev., 537
      There may be other... matters to occupy the thoughts of one about to be bishopped.
  3. (Christianity, rare) To provide with bishops.
    • 1865 December 6, Daily Telegraph, 5/3
      Italy would be well bishoped if her episcopacy... did not exceed fifty-nine.
  4. (UK, dialectal) To permit food (especially milk) to burn while cooking (from bishops' role in the inquisition or as mentioned in the quotation below, of horses).
    • ante 1536, Tyndale, Works, 166 (T.)
      If the porage be burned to, or the meate ouer rosted, we say the bishop hath put his foote in the potte or the bishop hath played the cooke, because the bishops burn who they lust and whosoever displeaseth them.
    • 1641, John Milton, Animadversions, 9
      It will be as bad as the Bishops foot in the broth.
    • 1738, Jonathan Swift, Compl. Coll. Genteel Conversat., 10
      The Cream is burnt to.
      Betty. Why, Madam, the Bishop has set his Foot in it.
    • 1863, E. C. Gaskell, Sylvia's Lovers, I. 64
      She canna stomach it if it's bishopped e'er so little.
    • 1875, Lanc. Gloss., 40
      Th' milk's bishopped again!
  5. (by extension, of horses) To make a horse seem younger, particularly by manipulation of its teeth.
    • 1727, R. Bradley, Family Dict. at "Horse"
      This way of making a Horse look young is... called Bishoping.
    • 1788, Francis Grose, A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue 2nd ed.
      Bsmallcaps ishopped, or Tsmallcaps o bishop. A term among horſe dealers, for burning the mark into a horſe's tooth, after he has loſt it by age... It is a common ſaying of milk that is burnt to, that the biſhop has fet his foot in it. Formerly, when a biſhop paſſed through a village, all the inhabitants ran out of their houſes to ſolicit his bleſſing, even leaving their milk, &c. on the fire, to take its chance; which, when burnt to, was ſaid to be biſhopped.
    • 1840, E. E. Napier, Scenes & Sports Foreign Lands, I. v. 138
      I found his teeth had been filed down and bishoped with the greatest neatness and perfection.

bishop (bishops, present participle bishoping; past and past participle bishoped)

  1. (UK, colloquial, obsolete) To murder by drowning.
    • 1840, R.H. Barham, Some Account of a New Play in Ingoldsby Legends 1st series, 308
      I Burked the papa, now I'll Bishop the son.
    • 1870, Walter Thornbury, Old Stories Re-told
      There were no more Burking murders until 1831, when two men, named Bishop and Williams, drowned a poor [14-year-old] Italian boy in Bethnal Green, and sold his body to the surgeons.
    • 2002, Helen Smith, Grave-Robbers, Cut-throats, and Poisoners of London, 66
      John Bishop and another grave-robber called Thomas Williams had drowned the boy, a woman and another boy in a well in John Bishop's garden in Bethnal Green... Bishop and Williams were hanged outside Newgate Prison in December 1831 in front of an angry crowd of 30,000.

Proper noun
  1. Surname
  2. A male given name.
  3. A self-propelled 25-pounder vehicle produced by the United Kingdom during World War II, so called from a supposed resemblance to a bishop's miter.
  4. A locale in US.
    1. A city in Inyo County, California.
    2. A city in Texas, ;.
    3. A town in Georgia, ;.
    4. An unincorporated community in Illinois, ;.
    5. An unincorporated community in Maryland.
    6. An unincorporated community in Virginia, and.
    7. A ghost town in Washington, ;.

bishop (plural bishops)

  1. Alternative letter-case form of bishop, particularly as a title or term of address.

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