American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A woman who rules a family, clan, or tribe.
- n. A woman who dominates a group or an activity.
- n. A highly respected woman who is a mother.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The wife of a patriarch.
- n. A woman who holds (to some extent or in some respect) in a family or tribe a position analogous to that of a patriarch. See matriarchy.
- n. A female leader of a family, a tribe or an ethnic or religious group.
- n. A female founder of a political or religious movement, an organization or an enterprise.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The mother and ruler of a family or of her descendants; a ruler by maternal right.
- n. A woman who dominates or is the most important member of a group or organization; in businesses, often the founder or owner of the largest interest.
- n. A venerated old woman.
- n. a feisty older woman with a big bosom (as drawn in cartoons)
- n. a female head of a family or tribe
- From Latin māter ("mother") + + -arch. (Wiktionary)
“The word matriarch could have been coined to describe my mother: now 89, she is the last living child of her parents, mother of five adult children, grandmother of 12 and has recently acquired three great-granddaughters.”
“But the matriarch is the glue that binds the entire family together and the inheritor of the late Jindals political constituency.”
“A surprised Southern matriarch is confronted by her family at an intervention ....”
“For the uninitiated, Joan Gussow is known as the matriarch of the local food movement.”
“Anya Whitson, the matriarch, is Russian-born, cold and detached from her daughters, never showing love or affection.”
“Their matriarch is inside for similar offences but the remainder of the gang is active all over the city.”
“Zelda is known as the matriarch of New York's nightlife scene.”
“These are tears of sorrow that it has come to this, that the country’s matriarch is gone, and no one looms bright over the horizon to serve as the country’s guardian angel.”
“Click here to learn more about this action, called the Rachel Sabbath Initiative, named after the matriarch from the Hebrew Bible who died in childbirth.”
“The rest of you, go with your so-called matriarch into the wilderness.”
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