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[pa-truh-moh-nee] /ˈpæ trəˌmoʊ ni/
noun, plural patrimonies.
an estate inherited from one's father or ancestors.
any quality, characteristic, etc., that is inherited; heritage.
the aggregate of one's property.
the estate or endowment of a church, religious house, etc.
Origin of patrimony
1300-50; Middle English patrimonie < Middle French < Latin patrimōnium. See patri-, -mony
Related forms
patrimonial, adjective
patrimonially, adverb
1. inheritance. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for patrimonial
Historical Examples
  • His patrimonial inheritance, aided by industry, enabled him to acquire a handsome fortune.

  • In his solitude, anxieties about his patrimonial property added to the sorrows of the exile.

  • Neuburg departed to look after his patrimonial estates; leaving his interests in the duchies to be watched over by the Archduke.

  • It must also be remembered that Donald Cameron was at this time only nominally the proprietor of the patrimonial estates.

  • The five hundred pounds withdrawn from his patrimonial inheritance had multiplied into thousands.

    The Virginians William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Mr. Esmond called his American house Castlewood, from the patrimonial home in the old country.

    The Virginians William Makepeace Thackeray
  • But let me name a condition: I have a patrimonial independence, I have amassed large savings, I have my profession and my repute.

    A Strange Story, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • They spent a year in traveling over the eastern continent, and then returned home to settle upon their patrimonial estates.

    Capitola's Peril Mrs. E.D.E.N. Southworth
  • On the 22nd June, 1528, he had writ of livery granted him of his patrimonial estates, and he then entered upon possession.

  • Thus “expenditure” really represents a patrimonial improvement, a creation of credit or a decrease of indebtedness.

British Dictionary definitions for patrimonial


noun (pl) -nies
an inheritance from one's father or other ancestor
the endowment of a church
Derived Forms
patrimonial (ˌpætrɪˈməʊnɪəl) adjective
patrimonially, adverb
Word Origin
C14 patrimoyne, from Old French, from Latin patrimonium paternal inheritance
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 patrimonial

1520s, from Middle French patrimonial- and directly from Late Latin patrimonialis, from Latin patrimonium (see patrimony).



mid-14c., "property of the Church," also "spiritual legacy of Christ," from Old French patremoine "heritage, patrimony" (12c.) and directly from Latin patrimonium "a paternal estate, inheritance from a father," also figurative, from pater (genitive patris) "father" (see father (n.)) + -monium, suffix signifying action, state, condition. Meaning "property inherited from a father or ancestors" is attested from late 14c. Figurative sense of "immaterial things handed down from the past" is from 1580s. A curious sense contrast to matrimony.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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