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
paternalistplay \pə-ˈtər-nə-list\ noun or adjective
paternalisticplay \pə-ˌtər-nə-ˈli-stik\ adjective
paternalisticallyplay \pə-ˌtər-nə-ˈli-sti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
Recent Examples of paternalism from the Web
There isn't an issue in sports that activates paternalism, patronizing ideas and outright self-righteousness quite like the NBA age limit.
The faithful-slave trope was the ultimate example of southern paternalism that described the master-slave relationship as essentially familial, existing outside of market forces.
Choosing to watch your own surgery is one more manifestation of the patient autonomy movement, in which patients, pushing back against physician paternalism, are eager to involve themselves more deeply in their own medical treatment.
California’s bag ban is a classic marriage of economic protectionism and government paternalism, dressed up in...
The case against paternalism in genetics is a cause célèbre among many scientists and science writers.
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.
First Known Use of paternalism
PATERNALISM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of paternalism for English Language Learners
: 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
Seen and Heard
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