• synonyms


noun, plural ma·tri·ar·chies.
  1. a family, society, community, or state governed by women.
  2. a form of social organization in which the mother is head of the family, and in which descent is reckoned in the female line, the children belonging to the mother's clan; matriarchal system.
Show More

Origin of matriarchy

First recorded in 1880–85; matri- + -archy
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for matriarchy

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for matriarchy


noun plural -chies
  1. a form of social organization in which a female is head of the family or society, and descent and kinship are traced through the female line
  2. any society dominated by women
Show More
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 matriarchy


formed in English 1881 from matriarch + -y (1).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

matriarchy in Culture



A family or society in which authority is held by females, through whom descent and inheritance are traced. More generally, a matriarchy is a society dominated by women. (See also matrilineal, patriarchy, and patrilineal.)

Show More
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.