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patriarchy

[pey-tree-ahr-kee]
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noun, plural pa·tri·arch·ies.
  1. a form of social organization in which the father is the supreme authority in the family, clan, or tribe and descent is reckoned in the male line, with the children belonging to the father's clan or tribe.
  2. a society, community, or country based on this social organization.
  3. a social system in which power is held by men, through cultural norms and customs that favor men and withhold opportunity from women: The corporate glass ceiling is one consequence of patriarchy in education and business.
  4. (often initial capital letter) the men in power in a society (usually preceded by the): The Patriarchy is vested in maintenance of the status quo.
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Origin of patriarchy

From the Greek word patriarchía, dating back to 1555–65. See patriarch, -y3
Related formsan·ti·pa·tri·ar·chy, noun, plural an·ti·pa·tri·ar·chies.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for patriarchy

patriarchy

noun plural -chies
  1. a form of social organization in which a male is the head of the family and descent, kinship, and title are traced through the male line
  2. any society governed by such a system
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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 patriarchy

n.

1560s, in ecclesiastical sense, from Greek patriarkhia, from patriarkhes (see patriarch). Meaning "system of society or government by fathers or elder males of the community" first recorded 1630s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

patriarchy in Culture

patriarchy

[(pay-tree-ahr-kee)]

A family or society in which authority is vested in males, through whom descent and inheritance are traced. (See also matriarchy and primogeniture.)

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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.