Definition of paternalism in English:


Syllabification: pa·ter·nal·ism
Pronunciation: /pəˈtərnlˌizəm


  • The policy or practice on the part of people in positions of authority of restricting the freedom and responsibilities of those subordinate to them in the subordinates' supposed best interest: the arrogance and paternalism that underlies cradle-to-grave employment contracts
    More example sentences
    • Indeed, I do tend to question public policy arguments based on paternalism.
    • He remained throughout his life motivated by an abiding belief in the twin myths of racial paternalism and national mission.
    • They said that protectionism and paternalism would only harm producers from developing nations.



noun & adjective
More example sentences
  • But when it comes to children's diet, I am an out-and-out paternalist.
  • Is the philanthropist simply finding a socially acceptable way of being a paternalist?
  • In Column 4, we looked at the institutional means by which 19th century paternalists sought to ‘look after’ the child-like among us.


Pronunciation: /-ˌtərnlˈistik/
More example sentences
  • These results offer strong support for both the paternalistic and the moralistic hypotheses.
  • Instead, the state is licensed to use a paternalistic tyranny over people who need public income support if they are deemed employable.
  • But exactly how patronisingly paternalistic can that be?


Pronunciation: /-ˌtərnlˈistik(ə)lē/
More example sentences
  • This leaves the floor open to those who are willing to authoritatively and paternalistically speak for ‘society’ on mutual obligation.
  • Of course, the state does act paternalistically at times.
  • In the past some large organisations treated people paternalistically, but reasonably decently.

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Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody