ma·​tri·​ar·​chy | \ ˈmā-trē-ˌär-kē How to pronounce matriarchy (audio) \
plural matriarchies

Definition of matriarchy

1 : a family, group, or state governed by a matriarch
2 : a system of social organization in which descent and inheritance are traced through the female line

Examples of matriarchy in a Sentence

For 20 years, the country was ruled as a matriarchy. a region in which matriarchy is practiced
Recent Examples on the Web For the novel’s long middle, Hargrave slows the narrative down to explore the fascinating daily lives of a matriarchy isolated in the frozen north. Eliot Schrefer, USA TODAY, "Review: Matriarchy under siege in Kiran Millwood Hargrave's chilling 'The Mercies'," 10 Feb. 2020 Advances in metallurgy sparked the demise of matriarchy in the first place, 5,000 years ago, leading to a growth of weaponry and war. Nora Krug, Washington Post, "‘Come on, guys, it’s just a novel.’ Lucy Ellmann bites back at critics of her book’s length," 18 Sep. 2019 Sharp Objects suggests that matriarchy, too, can have its issues. Ellen Gray,, "'Sharp Objects' with Amy Adams isn't another 'Big Little Lies' (and it shouldn't have to be)," 5 July 2018 Ocellaris clownfish exist in matriarchies headed by the largest and most aggressive member of the school, who rules as a female. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Alternatives to Heterosexual Pairings, Brought to You By Non-Human Animals," 28 June 2018 All of the dinners, in particular, include an educational or social justice bent, celebrating things like Latinx and Palestinian identity and matriarchy in the kitchen. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "Temporary Dream Cafe in Detroit brings social justice to the table," 13 June 2018 My family is a matriarchy in a patriarchal community. Ron Lieber, New York Times, "5 High Schoolers and Their College Application Essays About Work, Money and Social Class," 11 May 2018 The key to that arc is watching the entire Alverez-Riera matriarchy come together to support the young woman., "Latinx Moms Are Giving Us TV’s Best Portrayals Of Motherhood," 11 May 2018 Spottswoode was cast in the wine press as a kind of Napa matriarchy, an oenological gynocracy. Jay Mcinerney, Town & Country, "The Matriarchal Napa Valley Vineyard That Escaped Last Year's Fires," 23 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'matriarchy.' 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 matriarchy

1885, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of matriarchy was in 1885

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Cite this Entry

“Matriarchy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce matriarchy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of matriarchy

: a family, group, or government controlled by a woman or a group of women
: a social system in which family members are related to each other through their mothers

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with matriarchy

Spanish Central: Translation of matriarchy

Nglish: Translation of matriarchy for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about matriarchy

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