the female head of a family or tribal line.
a woman who is the founder or dominant member of a community or group.
a venerable old woman.

Origin of matriarch

First recorded in 1600–10; matri- + -arch
Related formsma·tri·ar·chal, ma·tri·ar·chic, adjectivema·tri·ar·chal·ism, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for matriarch

matron, dowager, queen, dame, mother

Examples from the Web for matriarch

Contemporary Examples of matriarch

Historical Examples of matriarch

British Dictionary definitions for matriarch



a woman who dominates an organization, community, etc
the female head of a tribe or family, esp in a matriarchy
a very old or venerable woman
Derived Formsmatriarchal or rare matriarchic, adjectivematriarchalism, noun

Word Origin for matriarch

C17: from matri- + -arch, by false analogy with patriarch
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

Word Origin and History for matriarch

"mother who heads a family or tribe," c.1600, from matri- + -arch, abstracted from patriarch.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper