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

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Synonyms for patronage


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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 Elsewhere, the Ouverture concerts were a reminder that for most of Western classical music’s history, the work of composers has been inseparable from faith, through patronage or inspiration. New York Times, 25 July 2021 This is the second patronage that Prince Charles, 72, has been handed from his younger brother, 61. Stephanie Petit,, 28 Apr. 2021 These relationships and the family’s patronage helped transform Ahmedabad into a center for education, arts and design. New York Times, 23 Sep. 2021 An infamous local character, Curley’s four non-consecutive terms as Boston’s chief executive in the 20th century were filled with allegations of corruption and patronage and interrupted by a stint in prison. Joe Walsh, Forbes, 21 Sep. 2021 To that end, earning a spot on the list would be met with unyielding appreciation in the form of incredible TV visuals, a surge in bar/restaurant patronage and a lively downtown scene at a time of year the city could use it. Nick Dimarco,, 20 Sep. 2021 Rather, the goals were to replace a system based heavily on patronage and nepotism, to treat people as individuals rather than as members of groups, and to distribute opportunities according to ability and talent. Jason L. Riley, WSJ, 17 Aug. 2021 As the story goes, the old master found a kindred soul in the young king, whose patronage would be all but unconditional., 12 Aug. 2021 However, the obstacles are still formidable because the Lebanese political system is built on the divvying up of patronage and state resources. Mohamad Bazzi, CNN, 3 Aug. 2021

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

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Last Updated

19 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Patronage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on patronage

Nglish: Translation of patronage for Spanish Speakers

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


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