matriarch

noun
ma·​tri·​arch | \ ˈmā-trē-ˌärk How to pronounce matriarch (audio) \

Definition of matriarch

: a woman who rules or dominates a family, group, or state specifically : a mother who is head and ruler of her family and descendants Our grandmother was the family's matriarch.

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Other Words from matriarch

matriarchal \ ˌmā-​trē-​ˈär-​kəl How to pronounce matriarchal (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for matriarch

Synonyms

dame, dowager, grande dame, matron

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Did You Know?

A matriarchy is a social unit governed by a woman or group of women. It isn't certain that a true matriarchal society has ever existed, so matriarchy is usually treated as an imaginative concept. But there are societies in which relatedness through women rather than men is stressed, and elements of matriarchy may be stronger in certain societies than they are in most of the Western world. And most of us can point to families in which a woman has become the dominant figure, or grande dame, or matriarch.

Examples of matriarch in a Sentence

Our grandmother was the family's matriarch. The tribe's matriarch ruled for 20 years before her death.

Recent Examples on the Web

Chase, the New Orleans matriarch of Creole cuisine, who helmed the famed Dooky Chase’s restaurant, died on Saturday, June 1. Shauna Stuart | Sstuart@al.com, al.com, "Southern chefs, food writers celebrate iconic restaurateur Leah Chase in photos," 4 June 2019 To understand and appreciate my value in my family, and not fall into that easy trap of doubting myself and trying to jostle with my mother-in-law for respect and the role of matriarch. Miriam Foley, Good Housekeeping, "I Didn't Appreciate My Mother-in-Law Until I Had a Daughter," 17 Jan. 2019 Barbara Bush The former First Lady who advocated for literacy and Bush family matriarch died at age 92 in April. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "In Memoriam: All of the Celebrities, Politicians, and Notable People Who Died in 2018," 13 Dec. 2018 The cookie recipe was a favorite of the Bush family matriarch, who reportedly got it from a dear friend. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "The Houstonian Hotel Shared the Recipe for Barbara Bush’s “Famous” Chocolate Chip Cookies," 25 Apr. 2018 President Donald Trump won't be joining his wife in attending the memorial service of former first lady Barbara Bush, matriarch of a political dynasty that Trump often clashed with during his 2016 campaign. Ken Thomas, chicagotribune.com, "Trump will skip Barbara Bush funeral, Melania to attend alone," 19 Apr. 2018 Kris Jenner, the matriarch of the family, was married to Los Angeles lawyer Robert Kardashian until 1991 and then married Olympian Bruce Jenner a month after the divorce. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "Kardashians keeping up during Khloé drama," 12 Apr. 2018 Well, Kris Jenner, matriarch of the Kardashian-Jenner dynasty, is finally wading into the discussion to shut down the rumors regarding Stormi's paternity. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "Kris Jenner Slams Rumors That Tyga is Kylie Jenner's Baby's Father: "Oh, No, No, No, No"," 13 Mar. 2018 And more specifically, the fight for space within Mana Pools between two packs — one led by a matriarch named Blacktip, the other ruled by her daughter Tait. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "BBC Earth's "Dynasties" Pulls at Heartstrings With the Painted Wolves’ Fight for Survival," 12 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'matriarch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of matriarch

1606, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for matriarch

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for matriarch

The first known use of matriarch was in 1606

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More Definitions for matriarch

matriarch

noun

English Language Learners Definition of matriarch

: a woman who controls a family, group, or government

matriarch

noun
ma·​tri·​arch | \ ˈmā-trē-ˌärk How to pronounce matriarch (audio) \

Kids Definition of matriarch

: a woman who is the head of a family, group, or state

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More from Merriam-Webster on matriarch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for matriarch

Spanish Central: Translation of matriarch

Nglish: Translation of matriarch for Spanish Speakers

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