Origin of patrician

1400–50; < Latin patrici(us) patrician (pat(e)r FATHER + -icius adj. suffix) + -AN; replacing late Middle English patricion < Old French patricien
Related formspa·tri·cian·hood, pa·tri·cian·ship, nounpa·tri·cian·ism, nounpa·tri·cian·ly, adverbpre·pa·tri·cian, adjectiveun·pa·tri·cian, adjective

Synonyms for patrician Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for patrician

Contemporary Examples of patrician

Historical Examples of patrician

  • Distinguished from the Patrician, who was a saturated solution.

  • When silent she was the picture of a patrician beauty; but, alas!


    Louisa M. Alcott

  • Patrician she was from the crown of her dusky head to the tip of her jewelled sandal.

  • "Patrician and plebeian must stand or fall together, my Marcia," he said quietly.

    The Lion's Brood

    Duffield Osborne

  • He might have been raised to the dignity of Patrician, if he would have renounced his Arian creed.

    Theodoric the Goth

    Thomas Hodgkin

British Dictionary definitions for patrician



a member of the hereditary aristocracy of ancient Rome. In the early republic the patricians held almost all the higher officesCompare plebs (def. 2)
a high nonhereditary title awarded by Constantine and his eastern Roman successors for services to the empire
(in medieval Europe)
  1. a title borne by numerous princes including several emperors from the 8th to the 12th centuries
  2. a member of the upper class in numerous Italian republics and German free cities
an aristocrat
a person of refined conduct, tastes, etc


(esp in ancient Rome) of, relating to, or composed of patricians
oligarchic and often antidemocratic or nonpopularpatrician political views

Word Origin for patrician

C15: from Old French patricien, from Latin patricius noble, from pater father
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 patrician

early 15c., "member of the ancient Roman noble order," from Middle French patricien, from Latin patricius "of the rank of the nobles, of the senators; of fatherly dignity," from patres conscripti "Roman senators," literally "fathers," plural of pater "father" (see father (n.)). Contrasted, in ancient Rome, with plebeius. Applied to noble citizens and higher orders of free folk in medieval Italian and German cities (sense attested in English from 1610s); hence "nobleman, aristocrat" in a modern sense (1630s). As an adjective, attested from 1610s, from the noun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper