pa·​tron·​age ˈpa-trə-nij How to pronounce patronage (audio) ˈpā- How to pronounce patronage (audio)
: the support or influence of a patron
the patronage of science by universities
: kindness done with an air of superiority
The prince deigned to bestow his patronage on the composer.
: business or activity provided by patrons
the new branch library is expected to have a heavy patronage
: the power to make appointments to government jobs especially for political advantage
oust his enemies from office and use the patronage to support his policiesH. K. Beale
: the distribution of jobs on the basis of patronage
The governor filled the vacated positions through patronage.
: jobs distributed by patronage
the government's vast network of patronage

Example Sentences

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
Recent Examples on the Web The truth is that there has never been a viable business model for a literary magazine, as they’re often required to make do through a combination of philanthropy, patronage and sacrifice by those who produce the issues. John Warner, Chicago Tribune, 14 Jan. 2023 William Wan reported from Beijing in 2012 that many expected Hu to exert influence over Xi through patronage and networks. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 25 Oct. 2022 Films like these need theatrical patronage and patience. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 11 Oct. 2022 Rahm Emanuel mastered a long tradition of letting loyal aldermen use committee budgets for patronage and perks. Mick Dumke, ProPublica, 21 Sep. 2022 Mexico had been a single-party state and had controlled local officials through patronage and corruption. Dallas News, 22 Aug. 2022 In comparison, some of today’s status-conscious billionaires seem less concerned with connoisseurship or patronage. Horacio Silva, Town & Country, 18 Aug. 2022 Steven Litt reports that Hassall believes the Playhouse Square Foundation’s 11 stages, which attracted more than 1 million theatergoers a year before the coronavirus pandemic, are underused and have plenty of room to expand patronage and activity. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, 17 Aug. 2022 During the 20th century, Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, established a system of patronage and corruption that kept its members in power and other parties in the minority. Morgan Wack, The Conversation, 16 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near patronage

Cite this Entry

“Patronage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


pa·​tron·​age ˈpa-trə-nij How to pronounce patronage (audio) ˈpā- How to pronounce patronage (audio)
: the support or influence of a patron
: business or activity provided by patrons
: the power to give out government jobs, contracts, or favors

More from Merriam-Webster on patronage

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