matriarch

noun

ma·​tri·​arch ˈmā-trē-ˌärk How to pronounce matriarch (audio)
: 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.

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 The family matriarch, Andrée Auvray, regaled them with her memories of D-Day. Catherine Porter Andrea Mantovani, New York Times, 7 June 2024 With the kernels from eight ears of corn (and the bears satiated), the matriarch then goes on to demonstrate the rest of the recipe, which Jennifer included in the caption. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 4 June 2024 Lady Violet Bridgerton The matriarch of the Bridgerton family is Lady Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell). Lia Beck, Peoplemag, 19 May 2024 More than 70 of her descendants attended, scattering roses into the creek that brought their matriarch to this place. Latria Graham, Condé Nast Traveler, 30 May 2023 See all Example Sentences for matriarch 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'matriarch.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1606, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of matriarch was in 1606

Dictionary Entries Near matriarch

Cite this Entry

“Matriarch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/matriarch. Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

matriarch

noun
ma·​tri·​arch ˈmā-trē-ˌärk How to pronounce matriarch (audio)
: a woman who rules a family, group, or state
especially : a mother who is head of her family and descendants
matriarchal adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on matriarch

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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