from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A social system in which the mother is head of the family.
  • n. A family, community, or society based on this system or governed by women.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A social system in which the mother is head of household, having authority over men and children.
  • n. A system of government by females.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Government by a mother or by mothers; specifically, an order of society, as in certain primitive tribes, in which the mother in certain important respects, especially in line of descent and inheritance, takes precedence of the father; descent or inheritance in the female line.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a form of social organization in which a female is the family head and title is traced through the female line


Coined after patriarchy, from Ancient Greek μήτηρ (mother) and ἄρχω (I rule) (Wiktionary)


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