• (British) IPA: /ˈpeɪtɹɪɑːk/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈpeɪt(ʃ)ɹiɑɹk/

patriarch (plural patriarchs)

  1. (Christianity) The highest form of bishop, in the ancient world having authority over other bishops in the province but now generally as an honorary title; in Roman Catholicism, considered a bishop second only to the Pope in rank. [from 9th c.]
  2. In Biblical contexts, a male leader of a family, tribe or ethnic group, especially one of the twelve sons of Jacob (considered to have created the twelve tribes of Israel) or (in plural) Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. [from 13th c.]
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Acts II:
      Men and brethren, lett me frely speake unto you of the patriarke David: For he is both deed and buryed, and his sepulcre remayneth with us unto this daye.
  3. A founder of a political or religious movement, an organization or an enterprise. [from 16th c.]
  4. An old leader of a village or community.
    • 1819, Washington Irving, The Sketch Book, “Rip Van Winkle”:
      The opinions of this junto were completely controlled by Nicholas Vedder, a patriarch of the village, and landlord of the inn, at the door of which he took his seat from morning to night, just moving sufficiently to […] keep in the shade of a large tree; […]
  5. The male progenitor of a genetic or tribal line, or of a clan or extended family.
    Synonyms: ancestor, forebear, forefather
  6. The male head of a household or nuclear family.
    Synonyms: highfather, paterfamilias
Antonyms Translations

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