• WordNet 3.6
    • n patriarch a man who is older and higher in rank than yourself
    • n patriarch any of the early biblical characters regarded as fathers of the human race
    • n patriarch the male head of family or tribe
    • n patriarch title for the heads of the Eastern Orthodox Churches (in Istanbul and Alexandria and Moscow and Jerusalem)
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Patriarch (R. C. Ch. & Gr. Ch) A dignitary superior to the order of archbishops; as, the patriarch of Constantinople, of Alexandria, or of Antioch.
    • Patriarch A venerable old man; an elder. Also used figuratively. "The patriarch hoary, the sage of his kith and the hamlet.""The monarch oak, the partiarch of trees."
    • Patriarch 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.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n patriarch The father and ruler of a family; one who governs by paternal right; specifically, one of the progenitors of the Israelites—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the sons of Jacob; also, one of those Biblical personages who were heads of families before the deluge: the latter are termed antediluvian patriarchs.
    • n patriarch Hence In subsequent Jewish history, one of the heads of the Sanhedrim after the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion, the patriarch of the Western Jews residing in Palestine, that of the Eastern in Babylon.
    • n patriarch In the early church, and in the Orthodox Greek and other Oriental churches, a bishop of the highest rank; in the Roman Catholic Church, a bishop of the highest rank next after the Pope. In the early church the highest dignity, which came in time to be designated as that of patriarch, belonged from time immemorial, and as was believed from apostolic days, to the bishops of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch—these three sees ranking as to dignity, precedence, and privileges in the order named. The Council of Constantinople (a. d. 381)gave the bishop of that see prerogatives of rank next after Rome, and the Council of Chalcedon (451) confirmed this, decreeing that this canon conferred an equality of prerogatives with Rome, still leaving the latter see, however, a higher rank. Since that time Constantinople has always stood at the head of the orthodox Oriental sees, and since the sixth century its bishop has borne the title of ecumenical patriarch. The patriarchal dignity of Jerusalem was not recognized till the Council of Chalcedon. Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem still remain the four great patriarchates of the orthodox Eastern Church. In 1582 Moscow was made a patriarchate, ranking next after these, but since 1721 the place of patriarch of Moscow has been represented by the Holy Governing Synod. Besides the orthodox Oriental patriarchs, there are others, representing the Armenian, Jacobite, Coptic, and other Oriental churches, and also Latin or Roman Catholic titular patriarchs of the same sees. In the Roman Catholic Church the Pope is regarded as having in his papal capacity a rank superior to his rank as patriarch, and the cardinals also take precedence of patriarchs. There are also three minor patriarchs in the Roman Catholic Church—of the Indies, of Lisbon, and of Venice. The title of patriarch seems to have first come into use in the Christian church in imitation of a similar title given to the head of a Jewish patria, or group of communities. In general usage it was apparently first given, without definite limitation, to senior bishops or bishops of special eminence. The bishops of the great patriarchal sees were at first called archbishops (in the older sense of that title). From the fourth century the title of patriarch came to be commonly applied to the bishops of the patriarchal sees, and is so used in imperial laws of the sixth century. It was not, however, till the ninth century that it became strictly limited to these. Exarchs, metropolitans, and archbishops rank next after patriarchs. See catholicos.
    • n patriarch One of the highest dignitaries in the Mormon Church, who pronounces the blessing of the church. Also called evangelist.
    • n patriarch A venerable old man; hence, figuratively, any object of patriarchal or venerable aspect.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Patriarch pā′tri-ärk one who governs his family by paternal right:
    • n Patriarch pā′tri-ärk (B.) one of the early heads of families from Adam downwards to Abraham, Jacob, and his sons: in Eastern churches, a dignitary superior to an archbishop
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  • Mary Daly
    Mary Daly
    “If God is male, then male is God. The divine patriarch castrates women as long as he is allowed to live on in the human imagination.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. patriarche, L. patriarcha, Gr. paria`rchhs, fr. paria` lineage, especially on the father's side, race; path`r father + 'archo`s a leader, chief, fr. 'a`rchein to lead, rule. See Father Archaic
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr.,—L.,—Gr. patriarchēspatēr, father, archē, beginning.


In literature:

The patriarchal age, which still endures, succeeded.
"The Truth About Woman" by C. Gasquoine Hartley
Little Dorrit used sometimes to go to sew at the house of "The Patriarch," and Pancks often saw her there.
"Tales from Dickens" by Charles Dickens and Hallie Erminie Rives
According to the first book of the Bible, the earth fell into a very wicked condition in the days of the patriarchs.
"Flowers of Freethought" by George W. Foote
The Spanish laws, with reference to the Indians, are altogether patriarchal.
"Adventures in the Philippine Islands" by Paul P. de La Gironière
In 1451 the patriarchate of Grado was transferred to Venice, where the patriarch had been living for a long time.
"The Shores of the Adriatic" by F. Hamilton Jackson
To what extent and in what manner did the patriarchal family take the place of the state?
"History of Human Society" by Frank W. Blackmar
As for the Old Testament patriarchs, we now learn that their very existence is uncertain.
"Communism and Christianism" by William Montgomery Brown
Such an account, with a criticism of the patriarchal theory, is here offered.
"The Position of Woman in Primitive Society" by C. Gasquoine Hartley
All three had traversed those distant provinces as they might have done during the Golden Age, in the days of the patriarchs.
"The Memoirs of Madame Vigée Lebrun" by Marie Louise Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun
The ancient rule is that no bishop is eligible for the patriarchate.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 7, Slice 3" by Various

In poetry:

A patriarchal elm
Its stately form uprears,
Which twice a hundred years
Has ruled this woodland realm.
"Summer Hours" by Horatio Alger Jr
We see the Patriarch's wintry face,
The maid of Egypt's dusky glow,
And dream that Youth and Age embrace,
As April violets fill with snow.
"The Last Blossom" by Oliver Wendell Holmes
England is more in debt to thee—
Old weaver, with the patriarchal brow—
Than England knows herself to be,
Yet shall she pay thee, though she holdeth now.
"Lines, to Mr. Samuel Bamford, on his seventy-sixth birthday, February 28th, 1864." by Samuel Bamford
Who will believe that, with a smile whose blessing
Would, like the Patriarch's, sooth a dying hour,
With voice as low, as gentle, and caressing,
As e'er won maiden's lip in moonlit bower;
"Red Jacket" by Fitz-Greene Halleck
And next the "patriarch" who led
For nearly three-score years
Our "Sabbath school"--its worthy head--
Rekindled all our fears
By saying, with a smile benign,
"Since it's the fashion, I'll resign!"
"Without A Minister" by Hattie Howard
With grief-struck brow the Patriarch now
Bares the sharp and glittering knife;
On that mournful pyre, oh hapless sire!
Must he take his darling’s life?
Will fails not, though his eyes are dim,
God gave his boy—he belongs to him.
"Abraham’s Sacrifice" by Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon

In news:

Richard Wight Burt , 88, beloved patriarch, passed away on October 20, 2012, attended by his children.
A spokeswoman for Michael Jackson's father says the musical family's patriarch has suffered a mild stroke.
LAS VEGAS—A spokeswoman for Michael Jackson's father says the musical family's patriarch has suffered a mild stroke.
Published Thursday, Nov 29, 2012, at 5:22 p.m. LAS VEGAS — A spokeswoman for Michael Jackson's father says the musical family's patriarch has suffered a mild stroke.
The Autumn of the Patriarch By Gabriel García Márquez.
Patriarch Murdoch 's influence in Britain has been enormous for decades.
Syria-based Orthodox patriarch dead at 92.
The patriarch guided Egypt's Christians as they felt increasingly isolated and threatened after Mubarak's ouster.
In the Shadow of the Patriarch .
Zimmer patriarch tries to reclaim life.
Patriarch Sabbah looked war-weary last summer when he visited the 800 Palestinian families who have relocated from his patriarchate to the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
He was in San Francisco for the patriarch 's visit.
Bass fishing patriarch to fish Elites.
Watch Ivan Watson's insightful documentary on the patriarch 's plight on CNN International's "World's Untold Stories".
The country is predominantly Muslim and led by a secular government that's had a complicated relationship with the patriarchate .