a form of social organization in which the father is the supreme authority in the family, clan, or tribe and descent is reckoned in the male line, with the children belonging to the father’s clan or tribe.
a society, community, or country based on this social organization.
a social system in which power is held by men, through cultural norms and customs that favor men and withhold opportunity from women:
The corporate glass ceiling is one consequence of patriarchy in education and business.
(often initial capital letter) the men in power in a society (usually preceded by the):
The Patriarchy is vested in maintenance of the status quo.
Contemporary Examples

Their patriarchy and chauvinism,” she says, “was harder on Iraqi culture than Iraqis themselves.
Hillary Clinton’s War for Women’s Rights Gayle Tzemach Lemmon March 5, 2011

patriarchy is powerful, but it is also fragile, and transgender people confound its simple dichotomies.
Southern Baptist Convention: Trans People Don’t Exist Jay Michaelson June 11, 2014

Feeling entitled to power, leadership, and control is a general description of patriarchy.
Who Died and Made You Khaleesi? Privilege, White Saviors, and the Elusive Male Feminist Who Doesn’t Suck Arthur Chu June 23, 2014

Or a select few can boost their grades by braiding their armpit hair and fighting the patriarchy.
Meet the Professor of Hairy Studies Lizzie Crocker July 8, 2014

That patriarchy is lived out in Christian culture to this very day.
#YesAllWomen Should Have the Church On Their Side Gene Robinson May 31, 2014

We show gender injustice, we catch missioners of patriarchy.
Femen’s Topless Sextremists Invade the US Lizzie Crocker February 22, 2014

Historical Examples

patriarchy succeeded matriarchy, but whether as a gradual evolution or otherwise is not clear.
The Sex Worship and Symbolism of Primitive Races Sanger Brown, II

A patriarchy is a monarchy in which the chief power is exercised by a patriarch, or father.
Elements of Civil Government Alexander L. Peterman

The first form of government was a patriarchy—the father of the family and of the tribe being the ruler.
The Theistic Conception of the World B. F. (Benjamin Franklin) Cocker

In this we seem to have the savor of a system of patriarchy.
Ifugao Law R. F. Burton

noun (pl) -chies
a form of social organization in which a male is the head of the family and descent, kinship, and title are traced through the male line
any society governed by such a system

1560s, in ecclesiastical sense, from Greek patriarkhia, from patriarkhes (see patriarch). Meaning “system of society or government by fathers or elder males of the community” first recorded 1630s.
patriarchy [(pay-tree-ahr-kee)]

A family or society in which authority is vested in males, through whom descent and inheritance are traced. (See also matriarchy and primogeniture.)


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