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[puh-trish-uh n] /pəˈtrɪʃ ən/
a person of noble or high rank; aristocrat.
a person of very good background, education, and refinement.
a member of the original senatorial aristocracy in ancient Rome.
(under the later Roman and Byzantine empires) a title or dignity conferred by the emperor.
a member of a hereditary ruling class in certain medieval German, Swiss, and Italian free cities.
of high social rank or noble family; aristocratic.
befitting or characteristic of persons of very good background, education, and refinement:
patrician tastes.
of or belonging to the patrician families of ancient Rome.
Origin of patrician
late Middle English
1400-50; < Latin patrici(us) patrician (pat(e)r FATHER + -icius adj. suffix) + -AN; replacing late Middle English patricion < Old French patricien
Related forms
patricianhood, patricianship, noun
patricianism, noun
patricianly, adverb
prepatrician, adjective
unpatrician, adjective
7. dignified, genteel, stately. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for patrician
  • Bush came from a patrician background and had good social skills.
  • Pronounced in a slightly patrician clenched-jaw drawl, this statement is jarring in two respects.
  • He has a decidedly patrician and distinguished appearance.
  • The decorators, who would not discuss revenue projections, are known for their rooms' patrician good looks.
  • He could be cast in any movie as the patrician senator.
  • It was the sort of dry joke he might have made to his patrician friends.
  • Even the word lord is the luckiest style that is used in any language to designate a patrician.
  • We wanted a patrician grandfather, and he gave us a believable enough one.
  • The individual-prince or prelate, patrician or professor-stands for the collective.
  • Today, of course, people are far too pragmatic to consider whether or not their nuptial plans uphold ancient patrician values.
British Dictionary definitions for patrician


a member of the hereditary aristocracy of ancient Rome. In the early republic the patricians held almost all the higher offices Compare plebs (sense 2)
a high nonhereditary title awarded by Constantine and his eastern Roman successors for services to the empire
(in medieval Europe)
  1. a title borne by numerous princes including several emperors from the 8th to the 12th centuries
  2. a member of the upper class in numerous Italian republics and German free cities
an aristocrat
a person of refined conduct, tastes, etc
(esp in ancient Rome) of, relating to, or composed of patricians
oligarchic and often antidemocratic or nonpopular: patrician political views
Word Origin
C15: from Old French patricien, from Latin patricius noble, from pater father
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 patrician

early 15c., "member of the ancient Roman noble order," from Middle French patricien, from Latin patricius "of the rank of the nobles, of the senators; of fatherly dignity," from patres conscripti "Roman senators," literally "fathers," plural of pater "father" (see father (n.)). Contrasted, in ancient Rome, with plebeius. Applied to noble citizens and higher orders of free folk in medieval Italian and German cities (sense attested in English from 1610s); hence "nobleman, aristocrat" in a modern sense (1630s). As an adjective, attested from 1610s, from the noun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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