pa·​tron·​age | \ ˈpa-trə-nij How to pronounce patronage (audio) , ˈpā- How to pronounce patronage (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for patronage


aegis (also egis), auspice, backing, sponsorship

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Meghan's new patronage with The ACU seems like the perfect fit for the Duchess of Sussex. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Works a Little Black Dress and a Bun to Visit the Association of Commonwealth Universities," 31 Jan. 2019 The other three patronages are a happy surprise, although a few of Meghan's previous public outings gave us some hints. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Receives Not One But Four Royal Patronages," 10 Jan. 2019 The Commonwealth is very important to the Queen, Murphy says, and her passing on this patronage to Meghan can be seen as a validation of what the Duchess has already been able to accomplish in her first few months as a royal. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "How a New Patronage Hints at Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Future Roles Within the Commonwealth," 11 Jan. 2019 Task force members count on patronage if their candidate wins power. Jamie Hitchen, Washington Post, "Sierra Leone goes to the polls on March 7. Here are the 5 things you need to know.," 7 Feb. 2018 Tomorrow evening, Kate will attend a gala at the National Portrait Gallery, which is one of her royal patronages. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Recycles a Red Catherine Walker Coatdress to Celebrate Commonwealth Day," 11 Mar. 2019 The Duchess of Sussex has thrown herself into her new royal patronages since the positions were announced last month. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Reportedly Supports a Campaign for More Diversity in British Universities," 18 Feb. 2019 Max Mara’s Maria Giulia Maramotti was on hand, continuing her brand’s patronage of the arts and creative women in general. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "At the New York City Ballet’s Annual Luncheon, Canapés Were Served With a Side of Dance History," 8 Feb. 2019 In a previously unscheduled royal visit, Meghan Markle is visiting Smart Works this morning, and there's video! Smart Works is one of Meghan's first four royal patronages, announced earlier this morning by Kensington Palace. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Makes a Surprise Royal Visit Today in an Oscar de la Renta Trench Coat," 10 Jan. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of patronage

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about patronage

Statistics for patronage

Last Updated

16 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for patronage

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for patronage



English Language Learners Definition of patronage

: money and support that is given to an artist, organization, etc.
chiefly US, somewhat formal : support that is given to a business, library, etc., by buying its goods or using its services
often disapproving : the power to give jobs or provide other help to people as a reward for their support


pa·​tron·​age | \ ˈpa-trə-nij How to pronounce patronage (audio) , 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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


an act or instance of returning to life

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!