patrician


pa·tri·cian

noun \pə-ˈtri-shən\

: a person who is a member of the highest social class

Full Definition of PATRICIAN

1
:  a member of one of the original citizen families of ancient Rome
2
a :  a person of high birth :  aristocrat
b :  a person of breeding and cultivation
patrician adjective

Examples of PATRICIAN

  1. <the Southern patricians who once resided in these stately plantation homes>

Origin of PATRICIAN

Middle English patricion, from Anglo-French patrician, from Latin patricius, from patres senators, from plural of pater father — more at father
First Known Use: 15th century

Other Sociology Terms

bourgeois, ethos, eugenics, exurb, incommunicado, intelligentsia, megalopolis, metrosexual, mores, subculture

patrician

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In ancient Rome, any member of a group of citizen families who, in contrast to the plebeians, formed a privileged nobility. They attempted to hold on to magistracies, priesthoods, and legal and religious knowledge, and the great civil struggle of the Roman republic was the effort of the plebeians to achieve equality and break the patrician monopoly. Gradually the patricians lost their monopoly—except in a few areas, such as selected priesthoods and the office of interrex—and in the late republic (1st century BC) the distinction lost political importance. After 27 BC, patrician rank was necessary for ascent to the imperial throne. After Constantine's reign (AD 337), the term became an honorary title with no particular power.

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