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[pey-tree-ahr-kee] /ˈpeɪ triˌɑr ki/
noun, plural patriarchies.
a form of social organization in which the father is the supreme authority in the family, clan, or tribe and descent is reckoned in the male line, with the children belonging to the father's clan or tribe.
a society, community, or country based on this social organization.
Origin of patriarchy
1555-65; < Greek patriarchía. See patriarch, -y3
Related forms
antipatriarchy, noun, plural antipatriarchies. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for patriarchy
  • patriarchy is an emotional economy as well as an unequal distribution of power.
  • By a cruel irony, the war was an opportunity, a challenge to the patriarchy.
  • To me, they do not merely connote gender, but patriarchy.
  • Womyn are worse off than they were decades ago because the patriarchy is alive and well.
  • Eliminate patriarchy and you eliminate overpopulation.
  • But there isn't much evidence that a return to patriarchy will bolster fertility.
  • Within its cloistered boundaries, patriarchy can't help but prevail.
  • Part of it may be due to an unquestioning respect for tradition, patriarchy and the elderly.
  • The last terrorism to be eradicated will be the terrorism of patriarchy.
  • patriarchy lives because these scientist have a need to control out of fear and insecurity.
British Dictionary definitions for patriarchy


noun (pl) -chies
a form of social organization in which a male is the head of the family and descent, kinship, and title are traced through the male line
any society governed by such a system
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 patriarchy

1560s, in ecclesiastical sense, from Greek patriarkhia, from patriarkhes (see patriarch). Meaning "system of society or government by fathers or elder males of the community" first recorded 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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patriarchy in Culture
patriarchy [(pay-tree-ahr-kee)]

A family or society in which authority is vested in males, through whom descent and inheritance are traced. (See also matriarchy and primogeniture.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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