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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Synonyms for matriarch

Synonyms

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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 Sarah Obama, the matriarch of former U.S. President Barack Obama's Kenyan family has died, relatives and officials confirmed Monday. Tom Odula, USA TODAY, "Obama family matriarch, Mama Sarah, has died in a Kenyan hospital at 99," 29 Mar. 2021 Sarah Obama, the matriarch of former President Barack Obama's Kenyan family has died, relatives and officials confirmed Monday. NBC News, "Obama family matriarch has died in a Kenyan hospital at 99," 29 Mar. 2021 The matriarch is expected to be buried Tuesday before midday and the funeral will be held under Islamic rites. Sam Dorman, Fox News, "Sarah Obama, former president's step-grandmother, dead in Kenya hospital," 29 Mar. 2021 The Merz matriarch tries to diffuse the situation with a drink. Madeleine Schwartz, The New Yorker, "Sybille Bedford and the Unruly Art of the Origin Story," 29 Mar. 2021 The matriarch died on March 14, 2020 following a lengthy battle with cancer. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Reba McEntire Honors Her Late Bandmates on 30th Anniversary of Fatal Plane Crash," 18 Mar. 2021 Although Meghan spoke about the matriarch fondly, Wood notes that her body language revealed something more complicated. Zoe Guy, Marie Claire, "A Body Language Expert Analyzes Meghan and Harry's Interview with Oprah," 8 Mar. 2021 That can be disastrous, given that the family wealth can be stolen by thieves, ever on the lookout for people like the matriarch in this case: wealthy, elderly, poor memory, stubborn and impulsive. Carolyn Rosenblatt, Forbes, "What To Do When Your Stubborn Aging Parent Refuses To Give Up Control," 24 Feb. 2021 During one appointment in Lake Forest, Edgeworth said there was a family surprise as three generations of one family unknowingly came face to face when the matriarch arrived for her vaccine. Steve Sadin, chicagotribune.com, "Lake County expecting more COVID-19 vaccine than originally promised in the weeks ahead," 19 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for matriarch

Time Traveler

The first known use of matriarch was in 1606

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Statistics for matriarch

Last Updated

2 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Matriarch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/matriarch. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on matriarch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for matriarch

Nglish: Translation of matriarch for Spanish Speakers

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