patriarch

noun
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

The Aris patriarch, Antoine, is 90 years old and his heart is weak, so no one dares to tell him that one of his adult children has died abroad. Boyd Van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Swing' ('Al Marjouha'): Film Review | Karlovy Vary 2018," 12 July 2018 Kurtwood Smith, who played Red, the curmudgeonly patriarch on That ’70s Show, commented on the kismet of their union. Vogue, "Emily VanCamp and Josh Bowman Are Married! Plus, 11 Other Celebrity Couples Who Met on Set," 17 Dec. 2018 Though the Blossom patriarch died on the season one finale, actor Barclay Hope made a shocking return on season two — but not as Clifford. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "Here's Everything We Know About "Riverdale" Season 3 So Far!," 23 July 2018 Wielgus insists to this day that the Diamond M’s patriarch, Len McIrvin, could have been prodded by the state to take steps — quickly moving the salt blocks, removing cattle from the den site — to avoid serious problems. New York Times, "Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf Scientist?," 5 July 2018 As rumors swirl that Meghan may not have endeared herself to every member of the royal family, their future patriarch has her back. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Paid a Subtle Tribute to Prince Charles's Work at the British Fashion Awards," 11 Dec. 2018 The patriarch of a political dynasty watched his son George W. Bush go on to become the 43rd President. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "George H.W. Bush Has Died at Age 94," 1 Dec. 2018 President Trump, the head patriarch of the United States, has pushed health and labor policies that make life harder for women and children. Jenn M. Jackson, Teen Vogue, "Kanye West Is What Internalized Racism and Misogyny Looks Like," 17 Oct. 2018 The patriarch of the royal family, Prince Philip, has also never worn a ring on his finger—and he and Queen Elizabeth II have been married for more than 70 years. Tess Kornfeld, Glamour, "Here's Why the Royal Husbands Don't Have to Wear Wedding Bands," 13 Oct. 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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Last Updated

12 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for patriarch

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

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More Definitions for patriarch

patriarch

noun
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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More from Merriam-Webster on patriarch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with patriarch

Spanish Central: Translation of patriarch

Nglish: Translation of patriarch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of patriarch for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about patriarch

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