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 Steven Molina Contreras is an artist from El Salvador now based in New York whose work focuses on immigration, family, matriarchy, sacrifice, love and photographic agency. New York Times, 9 June 2021 And, Bloomsbury was all about strong, intellectual women, and Mr. Jones thought that Fendi, which became famous as a matriarchy, was also all about strong, intellectual women. New York Times, 25 Jan. 2021 The family was a matriarchy, committed to dissolving the boundaries between the daily work of art and the daily work of care—a feminist project more enduring and surreal than any single romance or school of painting. Merve Emre, The New Yorker, 21 Dec. 2020 Olivia Galli Olivia Galli’s thesis at Parsons School of Design focused on the matriarchy within her family. Ella Riley-adams, Vogue, 9 Sep. 2020 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, 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, 18 Sep. 2019 Sharp Objects suggests that matriarchy, too, can have its issues. Ellen Gray,, 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, 28 June 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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Time Traveler for matriarchy

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The first known use of matriarchy was in 1885

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Statistics for matriarchy

Last Updated

15 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Matriarchy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on matriarchy

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


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