pat·​ri·​mo·​ny | \ ˈpa-trə-ˌmō-nē How to pronounce patrimony (audio) \

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

Other Words from patrimony

patrimonial \ ˌpa-​trə-​ˈmō-​nē-​əl How to pronounce patrimony (audio) \ 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 What Silva is exploring is patrimony, which in his case is a minefield of loss. David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times, 2 Dec. 2021 Despite this narrative of decline—much of which presumed that Italy was unwilling, or unable, to take care of its greatest asset, its cultural patrimony—the deterioration at Pompeii was inevitable. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, 22 Nov. 2021 There’s a lot of art in Italy, a seminal contributor to the Western canon for the last few thousand years, and a tremendous amount of that patrimony, from Antiquity to the present day, has been targeted by the Dark Side. Guy Martin, Forbes, 31 Oct. 2021 Generations of leftist politicians had touted the idea of public-sector companies as part of the national patrimony. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, 14 Oct. 2021 Played by a formidably striking Sharon Duncan-Brewster, the character doesn’t receive nearly enough screen time, particularly given Kynes’s weighty patrimony and narrative function. New York Times, 20 Oct. 2021 Gerima can claim his own essential part in that patrimony. Washington Post, 24 Sep. 2021 Leila Amineddoleh, who represented Italy, said the ruling sends a strong message to auction houses and dealers who want to weaken sovereign countries' attempts to reclaim cultural patrimony that finds its way onto the art market. Colleen Barry, ajc, 5 Aug. 2021 Javier Marías lends his patrimony to ghost stories, stories of murder or suicide or disappearance. Wyatt Mason, Harper's Magazine, 20 July 2021

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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Time Traveler for patrimony

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

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Dictionary Entries Near patrimony



Patrimony of Saint Peter

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Statistics for patrimony

Last Updated

30 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Patrimony.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of patrimony

: property that you receive from your father when he dies : inheritance
: things that are from the past : heritage


pat·​ri·​mo·​ny | \ ˈpa-trə-ˌmō-nē How to pronounce patrimony (audio) \
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

More from Merriam-Webster on patrimony

Nglish: Translation of patrimony for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of patrimony for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about patrimony


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