[ pey-tree-ahrk ]
/ ˈpeɪ triˌɑrk /


Origin of patriarch

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
Related formspa·tri·ar·chal, pa·tri·ar·chic, pa·tri·ar·chi·cal, adjectivepa·tri·arch·dom, pa·tri·arch·ship, nounan·ti·pa·tri·arch, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for patriarchs

British Dictionary definitions for patriarchs


/ (ˈpeɪtrɪˌɑːk) /


Derived Formspatriarchal, adjectivepatriarchally, adverb

Word Origin for patriarch

C12: via Old French from Church Latin patriarcha
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 patriarchs



late 12c., from Old French patriarche "one of the Old Testament fathers" (11c.) and directly from Late Latin patriarcha (Tertullian), from Greek patriarkhes "chief or head of a family," from patria "family, clan," from pater "father" (see father (n.)) + arkhein "to rule" (see archon). Also used as an honorific title of certain bishops in the early Church, notably those of Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for patriarchs


In the Old Testament, the “founding fathers” of the Israelites: Abraham and Isaac, Jacob, and the sons of Jacob. (See Joseph and his brothers.)

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.