Share this entry

matrilocal Line breaks: matri|local
Pronunciation: /ˌmatrɪˈləʊk(ə)l/

Definition of matrilocal in English:


Of or denoting a custom in marriage whereby the husband goes to live with the wife’s community. Also called uxorilocal.
Example sentences
  • In one of the most pertinent examples of this, anthropologists criticised matrilocal residence among groups in the Central Highlands for its implied association with a ‘primitive’, benighted phase of history.
  • She examines the changing and socially intricate relationship between rights to plants and to land tenure in a matrilineal and matrilocal society where land, under women's control, has become increasingly privatized.
  • After marriage, patrilocal residence - with the new couple moving in with the husband's parents - is more likely than matrilocal residence, although couples may establish independent households if they have sufficient resources.


Early 20th century: from Latin mater, matr- 'mother' + local.



Example sentences
  • A tendency toward matrilocality means that the main house at the center of a group of related women almost always contains a stem family.
  • The preference is for matrilocality, although this is not a rigid rule.
  • ‘The novel conclusion of this study is that patrilocality and matrilocality are not just simply the opposites of each other,’ he said.

Definition of matrilocal in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day haughty
Pronunciation: ˈhɔːti
arrogantly superior and disdainful