Definitions

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

  • n. Nobility or aristocracy.
  • n. The rank, position, or term of office of a patrician.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The rank of a patrician
  • n. The aristocracy or nobility

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The patrician class; the aristocracy; also, the office of patriarch.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The dignity or position of a patrician, in any sense of that word.
  • n. Patricians collectively; the patrician order; the aristocracy.
  • n. The period during which the holder enjoyed the dignity of patrician.

Etymologies

Latin patrici─ütus, from patricius, patrician; see patrician.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • No one, not even Mrs. Astor, could have turned this tinsel patriciate into a first-rate one.

    The Aristocracy and Its Discontents

  • The Good Shepherd: Robert De Niro's movie (skillfully written by Eric Roth) is a very persuasive and thoughtful study of how the youthful and more muscular scions of the Wasp patriciate imposed their values, their sense of entitlement, on the US and what that endeavor cost us - and the patricians ....

    GreenCine Daily: Shorts, 12/12.

  • The merchant patriciate of New York, with its faux English standards, gave no quarter; and although the New York ladies condescended to give a reception for Mrs. Lincoln, eventhis exercise in social charity was not quite free from malice, for Mrs. August Belmont, the grande doyenne of New York society, did not appear.

    FORGE OF EMPIRES 1861-1871

  • The trade that had created Venice's empire and sustained it for half a millennium had been abandoned to Greeks, Jews, and smaller families as the patriciate collected its rents.

    Asimov's Science Fiction

  • Osmond had a high appreciation of this particular patriciate; not so much for its distinction, which he thought easily surpassable, as for its solid actuality.

    The Portrait of a Lady

  • But at first it took on no constant form, because, by not abolishing the patriciate, it left half its work undone.

    The Social Contract

  • It is indisputable that, apart from the extreme disparity between the two republics, the bourgeoisie of Geneva is exactly equivalent to the patriciate of

    The Social Contract

  • This excellent institution of patron and client was a masterpiece of statesmanship and humanity without which the patriciate, being flagrantly in contradiction to the republican spirit, could not have survived.

    The Social Contract

  • He actually -- Morgan -- both sides of his family came to the -- to America before the Revolution, so they were really members of the American patriciate.

    Morgan: American Financier

  • Or the Dutch commercial patriciate with that of Phoenicia, Venice, or Catalonia?

    The 'Gothic Fox'

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