Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A person of refined upbringing, manners, and tastes.
  • noun A member of an aristocracy; an aristocrat.
  • noun A member of one of the noble families of the ancient Roman Republic, which before the third century BC had exclusive rights to the Senate and the magistracies.
  • noun Used as a title for members of a class of honorary nobility appointed by the Byzantine emperors.
  • noun A member of the hereditary ruling class in the medieval free cities of Italy and Germany.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Belonging to or composed of the patres or fathers (the title of the senators of ancient Rome); hence, of noble birth; noble; senatorial; not plebeian: as, patrician families; patrician influence.
  • noun In ancient Rome, a descendant or reputed descendant of one of the original citizen families; hence, in general, a person of noble birth.
  • noun Under the later Roman empire, a title or dignity conferred by the emperor, often upon persons of plebeian blood, or even upon foreigners.
  • noun A member of an influential class in certain German and Swiss cities in the middle ages.
  • noun One who is familiar with the works of the early fathers of the Christian church.
  • noun A member of a Christian body, probably of the fifth century, followers of one Patricius, who held dualistic doctrines.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective (Rom. Antiq.) Of or pertaining to the Roman patres (fathers) or senators, or patricians.
  • adjective Of, pertaining to, or appropriate to, a person of high birth; noble; not plebeian.
  • noun (Rom. Antiq.) Originally, a member of any of the families constituting the populus Romanus, or body of Roman citizens, before the development of the plebeian order; later, one who, by right of birth or by special privilege conferred, belonged to the nobility.
  • noun A person of high birth; a nobleman.
  • noun rare One familiar with the works of the Christian Fathers; one versed in patristic lore.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Originally, a member of any of the families constituting the populus Romanus, or body of Roman citizens, before the development of the plebeian order; later, one who, by right of birth or by special privilege conferred, belonged to the senior class of Romans, who, with certain property, had by right a seat in the Roman Senate.
  • noun A person of high birth; a nobleman.
  • noun One familiar with the works of the Christian Fathers; one versed in patristic lore or life.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to the Roman patres (fathers) or senators, or patricians.
  • adjective Of, pertaining to, or appropriate to, a person of high birth; noble; not plebeian.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to St. Patrick.

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

  • adjective belonging to or characteristic of the nobility or aristocracy
  • noun a member of the aristocracy
  • adjective befitting a person of noble origin
  • noun a person of refined upbringing and manners

Etymologies

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

[Middle English patricion, from Old French patricien, from Latin patricius, from patrēs (cōnscrīptī), enrolled fathers, senators, pl. of pater, patr-, father; see pəter- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle French patricien, from Latin patricius, derived from patres conscripti ("Roman senators").

Examples

  • Suppose Obama, the wise patrician, is elected in 2008.

    Your Right Hand Thief

  • In later years, he was often described as patrician and courtly.

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  • Their resentment prompted them to show that they might have been useful friends, since they could be dangerous enemies: their nerves were braced by adversity: whatever was learned or holy, whatever was noble or valiant, rolled away into the independent states of Trebizond, Epirus, and Nice; and a single patrician is marked by the ambiguous praise of attachment and loyalty to the Franks.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • John McCririck summed it up on The Morning Line, dubbing the patrician Nick Luck "Lord Snooty" and the permanently rumpled and windswept even in the studio, somehow Alastair Down "Fat Al".

    My bad luck at cards paid dividends at the Cheltenham Festival | Martin Kelner

  • Bush was an Easterner, with what some would have called a patrician background, but he was not entirely atypical.

    The Prize

  • Bush was an Easterner, with what some would have called a patrician background, but he was not entirely atypical.

    The Prize

  • The patrician was the antique aristocrat, one whose family was listed among the Fathers of Rome.

    The First Man in Rome

  • The patrician was the social superior to the plebeian and his rank was determined by descent.

    Dictionary of the History of Ideas

  • He recognized as never before that the peculiar artificial 'hardness' of the patrician was a brine or pickle, in which, with the instinct of self-preservation they deliberately soaked themselves, to prevent the decay of their overprotected fibre.

    The Patrician

  • He recognized as never before that the peculiar artificial 'hardness' of the patrician was a brine or pickle, in which, with the instinct of self-preservation they deliberately soaked themselves, to prevent the decay of their overprotected fibre.

    Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works

Comments

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  • a person of refined upbringing and manners

    January 8, 2009

  • "She inclined her patrician head slightly to her right, and I gave a closer look at the couple that had been on the periphery of my attention."-Dead as a Doornail, by Charlaine Harris

    May 19, 2011