matriarch

[mey-tree-ahrk]
noun
1.
the female head of a family or tribal line.
2.
a woman who is the founder or dominant member of a community or group.
3.
a venerable old woman.

Origin:
1600–10; matri- + -arch

matriarchal, matriarchic, adjective
matriarchalism, noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
matriarch (ˈmeɪtrɪˌɑːk)
 
n
1.  a woman who dominates an organization, community, etc
2.  the female head of a tribe or family, esp in a matriarchy
3.  a very old or venerable woman
 
[C17: from matri- + -arch, by false analogy with patriarch]
 
'matriarchal
 
adj
 
'matriarchic
 
adj
 
matri'archalism
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

matriarch
c.1600, from matri-, comb. form of L. mater (gen. matris) "mother" (see mother) + -arch, abstracted from patriarch.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
She was the family's beautiful and elegant matriarch.
Scientists then let the chimp groups watch their matriarch use the technique
  she had learned.
Trek into the world of big words-from adaptation to matriarch to yucca.
When he told them what he was doing, the matriarch declared him crazy.
Synonyms
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