Definitions for patriarchˈpeɪ triˌɑrk

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word patriarch

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

pa•tri•archˈpeɪ triˌɑrk(n.)

  1. the male head of a family or tribal line.

    Category: Sociology

  2. a person regarded as the father or founder of an order, class, etc.

  3. any of the Biblical personages regarded as the fathers of the human race or any of the three great progenitors of the Israelites: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    Category: Bible

  4. any of the 12 sons of Jacob from whom the tribes of Israel were descended.

    Category: Bible

  5. (in the early Christian church) any of the bishops of the sees of Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, Jerusalem, or Rome having authority over other bishops.

    Category: Religion

  6. Gk. Orth. Ch. the head of any of the ancient sees of Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, or Jerusalem.

    Category: Religion

  7. the head of certain other churches.

    Category: Religion

  8. Rom. Cath. Ch. the pope as patriarch of the West. any of certain bishops of the Eastern rites.

    Category: Religion

  9. any of the high Mormon dignitaries who pronounce the blessing of the church.

    Category: Religion

  10. one of the elders or leading older members of a community.

  11. a venerable old man.

Origin of patriarch:

1175–1225; ME patriark(e) (< OF) < LL patriarcha < LGk patriárchēs high-ranking bishop, Gk: family head =patri(á) family, der. of patḗrfather+-archēs -arch



Princeton's WordNet

  1. patriarch(noun)

    title for the heads of the Eastern Orthodox Churches (in Istanbul and Alexandria and Moscow and Jerusalem)

  2. patriarch, paterfamilias(noun)

    the male head of family or tribe

  3. patriarch(noun)

    any of the early biblical characters regarded as fathers of the human race

  4. patriarch(noun)

    a man who is older and higher in rank than yourself


  1. patriarch(Noun)

    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.

  2. patriarch(Noun)

    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.

  3. patriarch(Noun)

    A founder of a political or religious movement, an organization or an enterprise.

  4. Origin: patriarcha, from patriarcha; later reinforced by patriarche, patriarche, from patriarcha, from πατριάρχης, from πατριά + -αρχης.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Patriarch(noun)

    the father and ruler of a family; one who governs his family or descendants by paternal right; -- usually applied to heads of families in ancient history, especially in Biblical and Jewish history to those who lived before the time of Moses

  2. Patriarch(noun)

    a dignitary superior to the order of archbishops; as, the patriarch of Constantinople, of Alexandria, or of Antioch

  3. Patriarch(noun)

    a venerable old man; an elder. Also used figuratively


  1. Patriarch

    Originally, a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is termed patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά, "lineage, progeny", esp. by the father's side and ἄρχων meaning "leader", "chief", "ruler", "king", etc. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are referred to as the three patriarchs of the people of Israel, and the period during which they lived is termed the Patriarchal Age. It originally acquired its religious meaning in the Septuagint version of the Bible. The word has acquired specific ecclesiastical meanings. In particular, the highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church, and the Assyrian Church of the East are termed Patriarchs. The office and ecclesiastical circumscription of such a Patriarch is termed a Patriarchate. Historically, a Patriarch may often be the logical choice to act as Ethnarch, representing the community that is identified with his religious confession within a state or empire of a different creed.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Patriarch

    in Church history is the name given originally to the bishops of Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria, and later to those also of Constantinople and Jerusalem, who held a higher rank than other bishops, and exercised a certain authority over the bishops in their districts. The title is in vogue in the Greek, Syrian, Armenian, and other Churches. It was originally given to the chief of a race or clan, the members of which were called after him.

Translations for patriarch

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


the male head of a family or tribe.

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