[pey-truh-nij, pa]
the financial support or business provided to a store, hotel, or the like, by customers, clients, or paying guests.
patrons collectively; clientele.
the control of or power to make appointments to government jobs or the power to grant other political favors.
offices, jobs, or other favors so controlled.
the distribution of jobs and favors on a political basis, as to those who have supported one's party or political campaign.
a condescending manner or attitude in granting favors, in dealing with people, etc.; condescension: an air of patronage toward his business subordinates.
the position, encouragement, influence, or support of a patron, as toward an artist, institution, etc.
the right of presentation to an ecclesiastical benefice; advowson.

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French; see patron, -age

propatronage, adjective

1. custom, commerce, trade. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
patronage (ˈpætrənɪdʒ)
1.  a.  the support given or custom brought by a patron or patroness
 b.  the position of a patron
2.  in politics
 a.  the practice of making appointments to office, granting contracts, etc
 b.  the favours so distributed
3.  a.  a condescending manner
 b.  any kindness done in a condescending way
4.  Christianity the right to present a clergyman to a benefice

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1412, "right of presenting a qualified person to a church benefice," from M.L. patronizare (1382) or O.Fr. patroniser (1456); see patron. General sense of "power to give jobs or favors" is from 1769; meaning "regular business of customers" is 1804.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
patronage [(pay-truh-nij, pat-ruh-nij)]

The power of a government official or leader to make appointments and offer favors. Once in office, a politician can use patronage to build a loyal following. Though practiced at all levels of government, patronage is most often associated with the machine politics of big cities. (See spoils system.)

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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Example sentences
These are places and businesses worthy of your patronage.
Without that patronage, I don't know that it would have gotten published.
Finding a job at a Web site can be like securing the patronage of a
  15th-century benefactor.
My chief occupation is going around with a forked stick picking up little
  fragments of patronage for my constituents.
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