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[mey-tree-ahrk] /ˈmeɪ triˌɑrk/
the female head of a family or tribal line.
a woman who is the founder or dominant member of a community or group.
a venerable old woman.
Origin of matriarch
1600-10; matri- + -arch
Related forms
matriarchal, matriarchic, adjective
matriarchalism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for matriarch
  • 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.
  • When she panicked she went back to go get her mom, the matriarch.
  • Jane, the matriarch of our family, you will be held deeply in our hearts forever.
  • The matriarch strode over with a big smile and shook our hands and asked us to tea.
  • The campaign waged by this horribly believable matriarch takes many forms and never lets up.
  • There is even a book from the matriarch of the family.
  • At that, with manic inspiration, the ageless matriarch pounced on the hat and plopped it on her cheesy gray wig.
British Dictionary definitions for matriarch


a woman who dominates an organization, community, etc
the female head of a tribe or family, esp in a matriarchy
a very old or venerable woman
Derived Forms
matriarchal, (rare) matriarchic, adjective
matriarchalism, noun
Word Origin
C17: from matri- + -arch, by false analogy with patriarch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for matriarch

"mother who heads a family or tribe," c.1600, from matri- + -arch, abstracted from patriarch.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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