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


Origin of patronage

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


pro·pa·tron·age, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

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

Cultural 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.