Patriarch definition

pātrē-ärk
Frequency:
A man who rules a family, clan, or tribe.
noun
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3
A man of great age and dignity.
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15
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The father and ruler of a family or tribe, as one of the founders of the ancient Hebrew families: in the Bible, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob's twelve sons were patriarchs.
noun
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2
Used formerly as a title for the bishops of Rome, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria.
noun
6
2
(roman catholic church) A bishop who holds the highest episcopal rank after the pope.
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The definition of a patriarch is the father and male ruler, or a man regarded as the founder.

An example of a patriarch is Abraham, Issac, Jacob or one of Jacob's twelve sons in the Bible.

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Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or any of Jacob's 12 sons, the eponymous progenitors of the 12 tribes of Israel.
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The male head of a tribal line or family.
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The oldest member of a group.

The patriarch of the herd.

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One of the antediluvian progenitors of the human race, from Adam to Noah.
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A bishop in the early Christian Church, esp. a bishop of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, or Jerusalem.
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(eastern orthodox ch.) The highest-ranking bishop at Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Moscow, Bucharest, etc.
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The jurisdictional head of any of certain other churches, as the Coptic, Nestorian, Armenian, etc.
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(mormon ch.) A high-ranking member of the Melchizedek priesthood.
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(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.]
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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.]
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A founder of a political or religious movement, an organization or an enterprise. [from 16th c.]
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An old leader of a village or community.
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(r.c.ch.) The pope (Patriarch of the West), or any of certain bishops ranking immediately after him, as the bishops of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.
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(mormon church) A high dignitary of the priesthood empowered to invoke blessings.
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(eastern orthodox church) Any one of the bishops of the sees of Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, Moscow, and Jerusalem who has authority over other bishops.
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(judaism) The head of the Sanhedrin in Syrian Palestine from about 180 bc to ad 429.
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A person regarded as the founder or father of a colony, religion, business, etc.
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2
The oldest individual of a class or group.
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One who is regarded as the founder or original head of an enterprise, organization, or tradition.
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A very old, venerable man; an elder.
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3

Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
patriarch
Plural:
patriarchs

Origin of patriarch

  • Middle English patriarche from Old French from Late Latin patriarcha from Greek patriarkhēs patriā lineage (from patēr patr- father pəter- in Indo-European roots) -arkhēs -arch

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Old English patriarcha, from Late Latin patriarcha; later reinforced by Old French patriarche, from Byzantine Greek πατριάρχης (“the founder of the tribe/family”), from Ancient Greek πατριά (patria, “generation, ancestry, descent, tribe, family”) + -αρχης (-arkhēs, “-arch”).

    From Wiktionary