twelve patriarchs

plural noun

See under patriarch(def 5).

Nearby words

  1. twelfth man,
  2. twelfth night,
  3. twelfth-year molar,
  4. twelfthtide,
  5. twelve,
  6. twelve pitch,
  7. twelve step,
  8. twelve tables,
  9. twelve-inch,
  10. twelve-mile limit


[ 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

British Dictionary definitions for twelve 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 twelve 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