ma·​tri·​ar·​chal ˌmā-trē-ˈär-kəl How to pronounce matriarchal (audio)
: of, relating to, or being a matriarch or matriarchy
a matriarchal society
Johnnie Angelia King … plays a very different matriarchal figure here, imbuing hard-working Faye with passion …Larry T. Collins
As a Filipino-American, Lirio Marcelo was steeped in a matriarchal culture where there was no shortage of female role models in corporate and government realms.Lydia Dishman

Examples of matriarchal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Her decisions feel more rooted in matriarchal sacrifice than anything else, which minimizes her choice to protect not just her family, but also herself. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 2 May 2024 Carrington moved to Mexico in the 1940s and together with Remedios Varo and Hungarian-Mexican photojournalist Kati Horna, developed a uniquely feminine version of surrealism which referenced matriarchal societies and mysticism. Cath Pound, CNN, 27 Mar. 2024 Research into feral colonies shows that cats tend to form matriarchal social bonds; females will adhere more closely to one another (typically in a community of mothers, aunts and sisters). Colleen Grablick, Washington Post, 12 Mar. 2024 Perhaps the proximity of Lesbos, where Sappho wrote of the sexiness of female separatism, made matriarchal societies seem perfectly plausible. Virginia Heffernan, WIRED, 14 Feb. 2024 Pods usually consist of a matriarchal female and her offspring. Allison Futterman, Discover Magazine, 17 Jan. 2024 The early riot-grrrl scene was characterized by a matriarchal spirit of creative collaboration. Hanif Abdurraqib, The New Yorker, 5 Jan. 2024 For the first two years of his life, Kik mostly stayed in the lower Yukon River basin, almost certainly in a matriarchal herd. Richard Grant, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Oct. 2023 Highlights include the majestic Plantation (1980), a dazzling quilt in the BMA’s collection that envisions the Big Dipper as a matriarchal beacon of freedom, and Joyce’s Quilt (1983), a tribute to her daughter, artist Joyce J. Scott. Baltimore Sun Staff, Baltimore Sun, 19 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'matriarchal.' 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

1780, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of matriarchal was in 1780

Dictionary Entries Near matriarchal

Cite this Entry

“Matriarchal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

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