pa·tri·arch | \ˈpā-trē-ˌärk \

Definition of patriarch 

1a : one of the scriptural fathers of the human race or of the Hebrew people Abraham was a patriarch of the Israelites.

b : a man who is father or founder The newspaper patriarch celebrated his 90th birthday.

c(1) : the oldest member or representative of a group the cypress … is the patriarch of native trees, going back to the time of the dinosaurAmer. Guide Series: Texas

(2) : a venerable old man a whiskered patriarch, spry for his age— Frank Sullivan

d : a man who is head of a patriarchy

2a : any of the bishops of the ancient or Eastern Orthodox sees of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem or the ancient and Western see of Rome with authority over other bishops

b : the head of any of various Eastern churches

c : a Roman Catholic bishop next in rank to the pope with purely titular or with metropolitan (see metropolitan entry 2 sense 1) jurisdiction

3 : a Mormon of the Melchizedek priesthood empowered to perform the ordinances of the church and pronounce blessings within a stake or prescribed jurisdiction

Examples of patriarch in a Sentence

Our grandfather was the family's patriarch. The tribe's patriarch ruled for 20 years before his death.

Recent Examples on the Web

But Bill, the family patriarch, is a climate change denier. Josh Haner, National Geographic, "The Last Cowboys: A Cattle-Ranching Family Fights to Survive," 29 June 2018 The Jackson family patriarch was born in 1928 and married wife Katherine in 1949. Ashley Iasimone, Billboard, "Joe Jackson, Father and Early Manager of the Jackson Family, Dies at 89: Report," 27 June 2018 State media presents President Xi Jinping as a confident and hospitable patriarch, more than capable of handling men like Mr Trump. The Economist, "China considers its response to Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs," 23 June 2018 Pope Francis made an ecumenical breakthrough in 2016 by holding the first meeting in history between a pope and a Russian Orthodox patriarch. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Have the Culture Wars Killed Christian Unity?," 19 June 2018 NeverAgainCA has targeted show patriarch Bob Templeton and his son, Jeff, saying that the pair have gun violations on their criminal records and thus their event should be barred from the fairgrounds. Paul Sisson,, "Crossroads gun show returns to Del Mar, so do protesters," 15 July 2018 Her portraits and airy renderings of local farms, familiar business spots, pastoral animal scenes and local luminaries like Jim Pffeferkorn on his farm or the Heigh family patriarch of Jenny’s Market in portrait mode, are simply stunning. Lisa Peklo, Howard County Times, "Artist captures local landmarks in paintings [West Friendship]," 28 June 2018 In their sermons, Orthodox patriarchs praise Mr Assad for saving one of the world’s oldest Christian communities. The Economist, "How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria," 28 June 2018 Kevin Costner plays the patriarch of a fourth generation Montana ranching family trying to hold together the largest contiguous ranch in the United States. National Geographic, "Yellowstone: A Place, A Drama," 18 June 2018

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for patriarch

Middle English patriarche, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin patriarcha, from Greek patriarchēs, from patria lineage (from patr-, patēr father) + -archēs -arch — more at father

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8 Oct 2018

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The first known use of patriarch was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for patriarch


pa·tri·arch | \ˈpā-trē-ˌärk \

Kids Definition of patriarch

1 : a man who heads a family, group, or government

2 : a respected old man

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Comments on patriarch

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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