pa·​tri·​ar·​chy | \ ˈpā-trē-ˌär-kē How to pronounce patriarchy (audio) \
plural patriarchies

Definition of patriarchy

1 : social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line broadly : control by men of a disproportionately large share of power
2 : a society or institution organized according to the principles or practices of patriarchy For 20 years the country was ruled as a patriarchy.

Examples of patriarchy in a Sentence

For 20 years, the country was ruled as a patriarchy. a region in which patriarchy is practiced
Recent Examples on the Web During their 30-minute conversation, Fonda asked how the patriarchy affected Lovato's gender expression and decision to come out earlier this month. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 30 May 2021 The Nevers has echoed many previous works of its creator, Joss Whedon, from its superheroines battling the patriarchy to its quippy, self-aware dialogue. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 17 May 2021 For many women in 2021, body hair has inherent social implications that run the gamut from more self-love and acceptance to fighting the patriarchy. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, 14 May 2021 Much of White, middle-class feminism has been concerned with how motherhood reproduces the patriarchy — how women are forced to divide our identities and not discuss our families at work, etc. Jessica Dulong, CNN, 9 May 2021 That is also a bummer way to say, even the patriarchy has an interest in wages for (some) childcare work. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, 28 Apr. 2021 My new book revisits the trials of my adolescence and the ways that patriarchy has conditioned my thinking. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, 28 Apr. 2021 Her signature sound is delicate and feminine, organically interweaving English and Yoruba into deeply thoughtful rhythmic songs about love, money, politics, and the patriarchy. Danielle Kwateng, Allure, 16 Apr. 2021 In Anne's case, whether her body 'worked' according to the patriarchy's demands was literally a matter of survival… There's so much about her story that feels modern. Nick Romano,, 7 Apr. 2021

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

1632, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for patriarchy

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The first known use of patriarchy was in 1632

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Statistics for patriarchy

Last Updated

4 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Patriarchy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of patriarchy

: a family, group, or government controlled by a man or a group of men
: a social system in which family members are related to each other through their fathers

More from Merriam-Webster on patriarchy

Nglish: Translation of patriarchy for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about patriarchy


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