from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Roman Catholic Church A decree, especially a papal letter giving a decision on a point or question of canon law.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. Pertaining to a decree.
- n. A papal decree.
- n. Any decree or pronounced instruction.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Appertaining to a decree; containing a decree.
- n. An authoritative order or decree; especially, a letter of the pope, determining some point or question in ecclesiastical law. The decretals form the second part of the canon law.
- n. The collection of ecclesiastical decrees and decisions made, by order of Gregory IX., in 1234, by St. Raymond of Pennafort.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Pertaining to or of the nature of a decree; containing a decree or decrees.
- Done according to a decree; decreed; fatal.
- n. An authoritative order or decree; specifically, a letter of the pope determining some point or question in ecclesiastical law.
- n. A book of decrees or edicts; a body of laws; specifically [capitalized], in the plural, the second part of the canon law: so called because it contains the decrees of sundry popes determining points of ecclesiastical law.
Middle English, from Old French decretale, from Late Latin dēcrētālis, fixed by decree, from Latin dēcrētum, principle, decision; see decree.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French decretal, from Latin dēcrētālis. (Wiktionary)