Definition of patriarchy in English:


Line breaks: patri|archy
Pronunciation: /ˈpeɪtrɪɑːki

noun (plural patriarchies)

[mass noun]
  • 1A system of society or government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family and descent is reckoned through the male line: the thematic relationships of the ballad are worked out according to the conventional archetypes of the patriarchy
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    • Overall male gain depends on the constant renewal of structures of male solidarity and patriarchy over-riding immediate economic or class interests.
    • Feminists now challenge patriarchy by tracing their descent through the female rather than the male line.
    • The movie now takes on a starkly different aesthetic as it turns its focus to blood feuds, family honour, and tyrannical patriarchy.
  • 1.1A system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it: the dominant ideology of patriarchy
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    • These apply to the political and personal meanings that associate power with the nature of men and the culture of patriarchy.
    • Gender seemed to be on the forefront of the discourse, largely because the organizers prominently recognized patriarchy as a main and integral force of oppression.
    • No longer considered sexually scandalous, its analyses of patriarchy and its proposed antidotes to women's domination are still debated.
  • 1.2 [count noun] A society or community organized on patriarchal lines: we live in a patriarchy
    More example sentences
    • Additionally, we must analyze collusion between foreign and indigenous patriarchies under imperialism in exacerbating women's oppression.
    • Is it that these two patriarchies are uniting against a perceived common threat, free and independent women?
    • Many feminists argue that in patriarchies men maintain their power through violence and force.


mid 17th century: via medieval Latin from Greek patriarkhia, from patriarkhēs 'ruling father' (see patriarch).

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