pat·​ri·​mo·​ny | \ˈpa-trə-ˌmō-nē \

Definition of patrimony 

1a : an estate inherited from one's father or ancestor there were always children, and the patrimony was divided every time— D. H. Lawrence

b : anything derived from one's father or ancestors : heritage These historic landmarks are an important part of our cultural patrimony.

2 : an estate or endowment belonging by ancient right to a church canon law … aims at conserving the patrimony of the diocese— T. J. Reese

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Other Words from patrimony

patrimonial \ˌpa-​trə-​ˈmō-​nē-​əl \ adjective

Examples of patrimony in a Sentence

These historic landmarks are an important part of our cultural patrimony. her patrimony was the family's newspaper business

Recent Examples on the Web

In Italy, arts patronage is baked into the national fabric, a patrimony handed down from the Medicis and the Borgias. Erik Maza, Town & Country, "Inside the Interactive Maze Gripping the Milan Art World," 27 Sep. 2018 Coral Gables is renowned for its devotion to architectural preservation: The city even declared a home historic after someone bought it as a tear-down to halt its demolition and protect the Gables' Mediterranean patrimony. Andres Viglucci, miamiherald, "Famed for protecting historic buildings, this city wants to bulldoze one. For parking.," 29 June 2018 Then along came Levine, who regularly appropriates art-historical patrimony to explode the romantic idea of male authorship. Cate Mcquaid,, "Flattening time’s tides; a ‘Maid’ made in the shade," 30 May 2018 The people most concerned by their Roman patrimony are the people who live here. Joshua Levine, Smithsonian, "Travel to Southern France for a Dazzling Taste of Ancient Rome," 24 May 2018 Nina’s patrimony includes the rights to a failing franchise in the all but defunct Indoor Football League, in the similarly dormant-seeming metropolis of Paterson, New Jersey. Elif Batuman, The New Yorker, "A Public Defender’s Polyphonic Novel of Football and Social Justice," 30 Apr. 2018 Their political beliefs have nothing in common with the more complacent, old-style conservatism, the kind that young conservatives traditionally inherit from affluent Republican parents concerned with protecting their patrimony. Elinor Burkett, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kellyanne Conway Has Been Quietly Revolutionizing D.C. Since the Late '90s," 3 Feb. 2017 Bolivians pay homage to the Virgin of Socavon during the city’s annual Carnival celebrations, which have been recognized as part of the patrimony of humanity by UNESCO. Washington Post, "Outraged Bolivians protest over Virgin painted in lingerie," 1 Mar. 2018 Rahul Gandhi’s patrimony reaches him thanks only to his mother’s intervention. Raghu Karnad, The Atlantic, "Sonia Gandhi Leaves the Stage," 16 Dec. 2017

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for patrimony

Middle English patrimoine, patrimonie, from Anglo-French patremoine, from Latin patrimonium, from patr-, pater father

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Statistics for patrimony

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for patrimony

The first known use of patrimony was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for patrimony



English Language Learners Definition of patrimony

: property that you receive from your father when he dies

: things that are from the past


pat·​ri·​mo·​ny | \ˈpa-trə-ˌmō-nē \
plural patrimonies

Legal Definition of patrimony 

1 : an estate inherited from one's father or ancestor to deprive her and her coheirs of their patrimonyWells Fargo Bank v. Kincaid, 260 Cal. App. 2d 120 (1968)

2 : an estate or endowment belonging to a church the property of a dissolved parish shall pass to the patrimony of the diocese

3 in the civil law of Louisiana : the net assets of a person : the sum of a person's assets and liabilities reimbursement shall be made from the patrimony of the spouse who owes reimbursementLouisiana Civil Code

History and Etymology for patrimony

Middle French patrimonie, from Latin patrimonium, from patr- pater father

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Comments on patrimony

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


living or existing for a long time

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