paternalism

noun
pa·​ter·​nal·​ism | \ pə-ˈtər-nə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce paternalism (audio) \

Definition of paternalism

1 : a system under which an authority undertakes to supply needs or regulate conduct of those under its control in matters affecting them as individuals as well as in their relations to authority and to each other the empire's paternalism in regard to its colonies
2 : a policy or practice based on or characteristic of paternalism

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from paternalism

paternalist \ pə-​ˈtər-​nə-​list How to pronounce paternalism (audio) \ noun or adjective
paternalistic \ pə-​ˌtər-​nə-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce paternalism (audio) \ adjective
paternalistically \ pə-​ˌtər-​nə-​ˈli-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce paternalism (audio) \ adverb

Examples of paternalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web People need more economic freedom and less federal paternalism. WSJ, "Should 401(k) Withdrawals Be Easier?," 6 Feb. 2021 If there is a whiff of paternalism to the plans, the lawmakers behind the current swell of auto I.R.A. proposals don’t seem to mind. New York Times, "Saving at Work for Retirement: A Perk Coming to More States in 2021," 22 Dec. 2020 Criticism might entail thinking about why some feminists passionately embraced Sarah Connor as a maternal action heroine or explaining how this sequel tries to compensate for the paternalism of its predecessor. Washington Post, "A feminist critiques movies by and about White guys — but why?," 4 Dec. 2020 The diminutive infantilizes Blackness, and conditions social acceptance with the imposition of a hierarchical paternalism. Lisa Deaderick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Latina professors discuss use of ‘negrito’ and ‘negrita’ in Latin culture, after J.Lo controversy," 1 Nov. 2020 Indeed, the Obama administration’s guidelines reeked of paternalism. Ron Grossman, Star Tribune, "Pondering how to parlay a Biden victory into a more united country," 29 Oct. 2020 Here is Dwight’s defining paternalism turned into a source of injury. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Dwight Schrute Was a Warning," 29 Oct. 2020 The individual successes of Moonlight and Black Panther and BlacKkKlansman and even Parasite, not to mention Spike Lee being named the first ever black Cannes jury head, can’t ultimately undo more than 100 years of white male paternalism. Soraya Roberts, Longreads, "Menace Too Society," 10 Aug. 2020 The individual successes of Moonlight and Black Panther and BlacKkKlansman and even Parasite, not to mention Spike Lee being named the first ever black Cannes jury head, can’t ultimately undo more than 100 years of white male paternalism. Soraya Roberts, Longreads, "Menace Too Society," 10 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'paternalism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of paternalism

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about paternalism

Time Traveler for paternalism

Time Traveler

The first known use of paternalism was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for paternalism

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Paternalism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paternalism. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for paternalism

paternalism

noun

English Language Learners Definition of paternalism

usually disapproving : the attitude or actions of a person, organization, etc., that protects people and gives them what they need but does not give them any responsibility or freedom of choice

More from Merriam-Webster on paternalism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about paternalism

Comments on paternalism

What made you want to look up paternalism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!