View synonyms for patriarch


[ pey-tree-ahrk ]


  1. the male head of a family or tribal line.
  2. a person regarded as the father or founder of an order, class, etc.
  3. any of the very early Biblical personages regarded as the fathers of the human race, comprising those from Adam to Noah antediluvian patriarchs and those between the Deluge and the birth of Abraham.
  4. any of the three great progenitors of the Israelites: Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob.
  5. any of the sons of Jacob (the twelve patriarchs), from whom the tribes of Israel were descended.
  6. (in the early Christian church) any of the bishops of any of the ancient sees of Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, Jerusalem, or Rome having authority over other bishops.
  7. Greek Orthodox Church. the head of any of the ancient sees of Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, or Jerusalem, and sometimes including other sees of chief cities. Compare ecumenical patriarch.
  8. the head of certain other churches in the East, as the Coptic, Nestorian, and Armenian churches, that are not in full communication with the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople.
  9. Roman Catholic Church.
    1. the pope as patriarch of the West.
    2. any of certain bishops of the Eastern rites, as a head of an Eastern rite or a bishop of one of the ancient sees.
    3. the head of a Uniate church.
  10. Mormon Church. any of the high dignitaries who pronounce the blessing of the church; Evangelist.
  11. one of the elders or leading older members of a community.
  12. a venerable old man.


/ ˈpeɪtrɪˌɑːk /


  1. the male head of a tribe or family Compare matriarch
  2. a very old or venerable man
  3. Old Testament any of a number of persons regarded as the fathers of the human race, divided into the antediluvian patriarchs, from Adam to Noah, and the postdiluvian, from Noah to Abraham
  4. Old Testament any of the three ancestors of the Hebrew people: Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob
  5. Old Testament any of Jacob's twelve sons, regarded as the ancestors of the twelve tribes of Israel
  6. Early Church the bishop of one of several principal sees, esp those of Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria
  7. Eastern Orthodox Church the bishops of the four ancient principal sees of Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, and also of Russia, Romania, and Serbia, the bishop of Constantinople (the ecumenical Patriarch ) being highest in dignity among these
  8. RC Church
    1. a title given to the pope
    2. a title given to a number of bishops, esp of the Uniat Churches, indicating their rank as immediately below that of the pope
  9. Mormon Church another word for Evangelist
  10. Eastern Christianity the head of the Coptic, Armenian, Syrian Jacobite, or Nestorian Churches, and of certain other non-Orthodox Churches in the East
  11. the oldest or most venerable member of a group, community, etc

    the patriarch of steam engines

  12. a person regarded as the founder of a community, tradition, etc
“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

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Derived Forms

  • ˌpatriˈarchally, adverb
  • ˌpatriˈarchal, adjective
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Other Words From

  • patri·archal patri·archic patri·archi·cal adjective
  • patri·archdom patri·arch·ship noun
  • anti·patri·arch noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of patriarch1

1175–1225; Middle English patriark(e) (< Old French ) < Late Latin patriarcha < Late Greek patriárchēs high-ranking bishop, Greek: family head equivalent to patri(á) family, derivative of patḗr father + -archēs -arch
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Word History and Origins

Origin of patriarch1

C12: via Old French from Church Latin patriarcha
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Example Sentences

The recent Trumpworld legal shakeup isn’t confined to the patriarch of the family.

The practice of confiscating child support payments from the poor persists in part because some policymakers believe that welfare should be considered a loan, to be repaid by the patriarch of the family.

Always a shady, controversial figure, the patriarch was posthumously revealed to have plundered his employees’ pension funds to avoid bankruptcy.

From Time

Three members of the Ebrahimi family, whose patriarch made a fortune at the software firm Quark, collectively converted $65 million into Roths in 2010 and 2011.

Hana Alomair’s Whispers, Netflix’s first Saudi thriller, revolves around the death of a patriarch whose secrets spill out days before the launch of his company’s new app.

From Ozy

The talk radio phenom and Fox News staple has identified himself as a longtime listener of the TRN patriarch.

Marston declared that women should rule the world but remained a patriarch.

The patriarch, Josiah, had fought with the 42nd Wisconsin Infantry, marching all the way to Kentucky to battle the Confederates.

But it was Sean Connery who was the first choice to voice the Disney patriarch with the tragic fate.

In Moscow, Patriarch Kirill addressed an audience that included Russian President Vladimir Putin.

I had those words in my thoughts four years ago, when I cut him down from the branch of the Patriarch.

It is thus that I have seen it stated in the credentials granted to the said Fleuche, first Patriarch of those lands.

The Patriarch went to him, and, with the help of an interpreter, did for him what pertained to his office as a good Pastor.

They boast of having descended from Abraham through Ishmael, believing that this patriarch built Mecca and died there.

The sufferings of the patriarch Job form the subject of a few of these scriptural illustrations.


Related Words




patria potestaspatriarchal