- a form of social organization in which the father is the supreme authority in the family, clan, or tribe and descent is reckoned in the male line, with the children belonging to the father's clan or tribe.
- a society, community, or country based on this social organization.
- a social system in which power is held by men, through cultural norms and customs that favor men and withhold opportunity from women: The corporate glass ceiling is one consequence of patriarchy in education and business.
- (often initial capital letter) the men in power in a society (usually preceded by the): The Patriarchy is vested in maintenance of the status quo.
Origin of patriarchy
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- a form of social organization in which a male is the head of the family and descent, kinship, and title are traced through the male line
- any society governed by such a system
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
1560s, in ecclesiastical sense, from Greek patriarkhia, from patriarkhes (see patriarch). Meaning "system of society or government by fathers or elder males of the community" first recorded 1630s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.