matriarch

play
noun ma·tri·arch \ ˈmā-trē-ˌärk \

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.

matriarchal

play \ˌmā-trē-ˈär-kəl\ adjective

Examples of matriarch in a Sentence

  1. Our grandmother was the family's matriarch.

  2. The tribe's matriarch ruled for 20 years before her death.

Recent Examples of matriarch from the Web

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.

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.

First Known Use of matriarch

1606

matriarch Synonyms


MATRIARCH Defined for English Language Learners

matriarch

play
noun

Definition of matriarch for English Language Learners

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


MATRIARCH Defined for Kids

matriarch

play
noun ma·tri·arch \ ˈmā-trē-ˌärk \

Definition of matriarch for Students

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

Word Root of matriarch

The Latin word mater, meaning “mother,” gives us the root mater or matr. Anyone or anything maternal, such as a grandparent, is related through the mother's side of the family. Maternity is the state of being a mother. A matriarch is a woman who is the mother and head of a family. A matron is a married woman who may be a mother.



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