Simple Definition of patriarchy
: a family, group, or government controlled by a man or a group of men
: a social system in which family members are related to each other through their fathers
Full Definition of patriarchyplural
1 : social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line; broadly : control by men of a disproportionately large share of power
2 : a society or institution organized according to the principles or practices of patriarchy
Examples of patriarchy in a sentence
For 20 years, the country was ruled as a patriarchy.
a region in which patriarchy is practiced
Did You Know?
With its root -arch, meaning "ruler, leader", a patriarch is a man who dominates something, even if it's just a family. In Christianity, the term is used for a few leading figures who appear early in the Old Testament, including Methuselah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; in the Eastern Orthodox church, a patriarch is usually the equivalent of a bishop. Outside of the field of anthropology, patriarchy didn't start to be used much until the 1970s, when the women's movement gained a huge following. Many feminists have claimed that all Western societies are patriarchal—that is, that they systematically enable men to dominate women. But there's plenty of disagreement about how this is done, and the word isn't discussed as often as it used to be.
First Known Use of patriarchy
Seen and Heard
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