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

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 But there is still time in 2022, and hopefully a combination of Lovie Smith and Nick Caserio can get the focus on watchable, relevant football versus distractions, paternalism, strong bad feelings and distrust. Stephanie Stradley, Chron, 22 Apr. 2022 Bell’s series falls short of questioning the systems of paternalism that endowed a serial rapist with so much institutional control. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. 2022 But such paternalism is a reality for hundreds of thousands of Americans using methadone to treat opioid addiction and live a healthy life. Paul J. Joudrey And Adam J. Gordon, STAT, 25 Dec. 2021 Mandatory corporate paternalism is a good way to provide welfare benefits without enduring the unpleasantness of taking responsibility for their cost. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, 13 May 2021 But even when women producers of colour get their foot in the door, there’s often a slew of microaggressions, paternalism, ego, and other barriers waiting for them on the other side. Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo,, 12 Dec. 2021 Within his own country, Lukashenka has imposed a kind of harsh paternalism. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, 6 Dec. 2021 At most these appear as budget rules or transfer rules that play little or no part in cost-benefit analysis, and figure nowhere into regulatory aggregates even as paternalism and normalization of dependency may trump much else. Clyde Wayne Crews Jr., Forbes, 5 Nov. 2021 The same medical paternalism that judged women for resisting C-sections also judged women — just a few decades earlier — for having them. New York Times, 21 July 2021 See More

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

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Last Updated

5 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Paternalism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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