pa·​tron·​age | \ ˈpa-trə-nij, ˈpā- \

Definition of patronage

1 : advowson
2 : the support or influence of a patron the patronage of science by universities
3 : kindness done with an air of superiority The prince deigned to bestow his patronage on the composer.
4 : business or activity provided by patrons the new branch library is expected to have a heavy patronage
5a : the power to make appointments to government jobs especially for political advantage oust his enemies from office and use the patronage to support his policies— H. K. Beale
b : the distribution of jobs on the basis of patronage The governor filled the vacated positions through patronage.
c : jobs distributed by patronage the government's vast network of patronage

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Synonyms for patronage


aegis (also egis), auspice, backing, sponsorship

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Examples of patronage in a Sentence

The college relied on the patronage of its wealthy graduates to expand its funds. They thanked her for her patronage of the new hospital. The city should do more to encourage patronage of local businesses. a system of political patronage
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Recent Examples on the Web

Royal sources claim that Her Majesty is set to pass on one of her royal patronages to the Duchess of Sussex. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Queen Elizabeth Will Pass on Her Royal Patronage to Meghan Markle in the New Year," 17 Dec. 2018 Back in late May, Charles held a garden party at Buckingham Palace to kick off his birthday celebrations with his various patronages and military affiliations. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Stuns in a Pink Dress and Statement Earrings at Prince Charles's Birthday Dinner," 14 Nov. 2018 On Tuesday, the council rejected Councilman Scott Peotter’s proposal to implement the city of Irvine political patronage model for the Newport Beach city finance committee. Keith Curry,, "Newport Beach City Council made a trio of sound financial decisions," 14 June 2018 The investigation also raised questions about the role of political patronage and conflicts of interest in the fee scandal, leading to ethics charges against the BMV's former chief of staff and the demotion of its chief financial officer. John Tuohy, Indianapolis Star, "BMV accused of contempt in license overcharge case for delaying some refunds," 28 June 2018 Even self-admitted socialists like Oakland’s Ron Dellums refused to close military bases in his district, emblematic of Democratic politicians across the board who failed to recognize Defense as an endless source of patronage and pork. Peter-christian Aigner, The New Republic, "The Long, Tortured History of the Job Guarantee," 11 May 2018 Both areas produced powerful, tannic reds made from the nebbiolo grape, but Barolo, known as the wine of kings, had the advantage of royal patronage because of its association with the Savoy family. Jay Mcinerney, Town & Country, "How a wine making dynasty challenged the old ways in order to save itself.," 11 Oct. 2016 Art patronage has always been a hobby for the very rich, and that’s not going to change any time soon — but the ability to look at beautiful things shouldn’t be limited to those who can afford to buy them. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Why is art so expensive?," 31 Oct. 2018 No party will stand to benefit by backing a prime minister trying to champion real reform, and politicians again will jealously guard the patronage networks they are awarded for supporting the new government. Kenneth M. Pollack, WSJ, "Iraq Gets a Government—and It Was Worth the Wait," 5 Oct. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for patronage

Last Updated

24 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for patronage

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

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More Definitions for patronage



English Language Learners Definition of patronage

: money and support that is given to an artist, organization, etc.

: support that is given to a business, library, etc., by buying its goods or using its services

: the power to give jobs or provide other help to people as a reward for their support


pa·​tron·​age | \ ˈpa-trə-nij, ˈpā-trə-\

Kids Definition of patronage

1 : the help or business given by a supporter
2 : a group of customers (as of a shop or theater)
3 : the control by officials of giving out jobs, contracts, and favors

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Comments on patronage

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


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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