[ pey-truh-nij, pa‐ ]
/ ˈpeɪ trə nɪdʒ, ˈpæ‐ /


Nearby words

  1. patrologist,
  2. patrology,
  3. patrolwoman,
  4. patron,
  5. patron saint,
  6. patroness,
  7. patronise,
  8. patronize,
  9. patronizing,
  10. patronizingly

Origin of patronage

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French; see patron, -age

Related formspro·pa·tron·age, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for patronage

British Dictionary definitions for patronage


/ (ˈpætrənɪdʒ) /


  1. the support given or custom brought by a patron or patroness
  2. the position of a patron
(in politics)
  1. the practice of making appointments to office, granting contracts, etc
  2. the favours so distributed
  1. a condescending manner
  2. any kindness done in a condescending way
Christianity the right to present a clergyman to a benefice
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 patronage



late 14c., "right of presenting a qualified person to a church benefice," from Old French patronage (14c.) from patron (see patron). Secular sense of "action of giving influential support" is from 1550s. General sense of "power to give jobs or favors" is from 1769; meaning "regular business of customers" is 1804.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for patronage


[ (pay-truh-nij, pat-ruh-nij) ]

The power of a government official or leader to make appointments and offer favors. Once in office, a politician can use patronage to build a loyal following. Though practiced at all levels of government, patronage is most often associated with the machine politics of big cities. (See spoils system.)

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.