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

The limited line, made in collaboration with a group of retailers and designers, was created for Meghan's patronage Smart Works, which works to prepare underprivileged women for the job market. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Went Straight Home to Archie After Her Fashion Line Launch," 13 Sep. 2019 Nine months later, Shakman is in court as part of a long-running patronage lawsuit that has sought hiring reforms at City Hall and Cook County. Ray Long,, "Watchdog accuses County Clerk Karen Yarbrough of running ‘illegal patronage’ operation, wants court oversight," 11 Sep. 2019 Biicla was signed by the same team that manages Whethan and Oliver Tree, and his off-kilter quirk-punk style reflects this patronage. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "First Spin: The Week's Best New Dance Tracks From Avicii & David Guetta, Tinlicker, Petit Biscuit & More," 23 Aug. 2019 This was the era when artists started to forsake aristocratic and institutional patronage—bucking the bias of the annual Salon while hungering for inclusion in it—in favor of support from a burgeoning middle class. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "Renoir’s Problem Nudes," 19 Aug. 2019 Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are both activists for the environment, conservation and slowing the effects of climate change through charities and patronages. Rachel E. Greenspan, Time, "Elton John Criticizes 'Malicious' Coverage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's French Vacation," 19 Aug. 2019 May leveraged her knack for gaining patronage into sporadic artistic opportunities. Erin Blakemore, Smithsonian, "The New ‘Little Women’ May Finally Do Justice to Its Most Controversial Character," 14 Aug. 2019 Smart Works is actually one of Markle's royal patronages. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Meghan Markle Is Launching a Fashion Collection for Charity," 30 July 2019 The Duchess of Cambridge wore a blue Philip Treacy hat nearly identical to the one Meghan wore last year to Prince Charles' 70th birthday patronage. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Kate Middleton Wore the Same Hat as Meghan Markle at Royal Ascot 2019," 18 June 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

17 Sep 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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!