[ mey-tree-ahr-kee ]

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.

Origin of matriarchy

First recorded in 1880–85; matri- + -archy

Words Nearby matriarchy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use matriarchy in a sentence

  • It would appear that with the aforementioned rise of matriarchy this state of affairs is changing.

  • With the development of civilization we find that adaptation tends to take the form of matriarchy, as in the United States.

British Dictionary definitions for matriarchy


/ (ˈmeɪtrɪˌɑːkɪ) /

nounplural -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

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

Cultural definitions for matriarchy


[ (may-tree-ahr-kee) ]

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.)

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.