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 Feminism has nothing to do with being anti-male or even wanting the same kind of power that is ascribed to by the patriarchy. Washington Post, "Christine Lahti plays friend, feminist icon Steinem on PBS," 26 June 2020 But its ability to spark an uproar that is challenging Iranian traditions of patriarchy and improving women’s and children’s rights had to appear unlikely. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, "How outrage over killing of Iranian girl is helping women’s rights," 23 June 2020 In Motherland: Fort Salem, the witches are rising up for their much-deserved dominance and to smash the patriarchy. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "Witches rise up (and get a premiere date) in badass Motherland: Fort Salem trailer," 17 Jan. 2020 And the majority of men aren’t benefiting wildly from patriarchy. Cate Matthews, Time, "Author N. K. Jemisin on Race, Gentrification and the Power of Fiction to Bring People Together," 13 Mar. 2020 And those characteristics track pretty darn closely with the patriarchy's tendency to elevate men and disdain women. Zoe Fenson, TheWeek, "Dogs are from Mars, cats are from Venus," 28 Mar. 2020 Female politicians, women's rights activists and experts say the volume of abuse online reflects the cultural realities in India, where patriarchy is deeply rooted and gender inequality rife. Eliza Mackintosh, CNN, "Troll armies, 'deepfake' porn videos and violent threats. How Twitter became so toxic for India's women politicians," 22 Jan. 2020 The event, which was put on with the help of presenters like Lifetime and sponsors like Audi, was tamer than in years past when celebrities used their platforms to talk about everything from politics and the patriarchy to Harvey Weinstein. Washington Post, "Jennifer Aniston, Mariah Carey honored at women’s event," 12 Oct. 2019 The main draw here is the romance, but the movie is also a tale of sisterhood: an examination of women breaking free from the shackles of tradition, class and patriarchy. Sara Aridi, New York Times, "What’s on TV Sunday: ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ and ‘Beef House’," 29 Mar. 2020

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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The first known use of patriarchy was in 1632

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Statistics for patriarchy

Last Updated

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Patriarchy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce patriarchy (audio)

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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with patriarchy

Spanish Central: Translation of patriarchy

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

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