Definitions

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

  • n. A social system in which the father is the head of the family and men have authority over women and children.
  • n. A family, community, or society based on this system or governed by men.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A social system in which the father is head of the household, having authority over women and children.
  • n. A system of government by males.
  • n. The dominance of men in social or cultural systems.
  • n. The office of a patriarch; a patriarchate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The jurisdiction of a patriarch; patriarchship.
  • n. Government by a patriarch; patriarchism.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A community or aggregation of related families under the authority and rule of a patriarch or the eldest valid male ascendant.
  • n. A system of government by patriarchs.
  • n. The community or ecclesiastical province under the jurisdiction of a patriarch.

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

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

Etymologies

From Latin patriarchia, from Byzantine Greek πατριαρχία, from Hellenistic Ancient Greek πατριάρχης ("patriarch"), from πατρία and ἄρχω. (Wiktionary)

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