Definition of matriarchy in English:



  • 1A system of society or government ruled by a woman or women.

    ‘a matriarchy run by morally superior women’
    [mass noun] ‘feminism has revived an interest in matriarchy’
    • ‘She is sceptical of the Western rejection of the term matriarchy as a failed mirror-image of masculinist terminology.’
    • ‘She suggests that the symbol of the Amazon is associated with the symbol of the Great Mother and with matriarchy.’
    • ‘She may advocate a matriarchy, but it is a matriarchy where leaders remain irreproachably ladylike, and therefore ultimately submissive to men.’
    • ‘A famous woman ruled during the period of the matriarchy (when women held the majority of power).’
    • ‘Getting rid of patriarchy is fine, but replacing it with an equivalent matriarchy solves nothing unless you're simply out for revenge.’
    • ‘Whether or not Witchcraft was handed down in an unbroken line from time immemorial or whether there was ever a golden age of matriarchy is totally irrelevant.’
    • ‘The most active theorists wrestling with this demon offer something far less robust: spurious theories of ancient matriarchies, for one.’
    • ‘They form a matriarchy, a herd of females led by the dominant matriarch, who all band together to raise and protect and teach each other and their young calves.’
    • ‘Chamorro culture is a matriarchy, meaning that the women are central to the culture's survival.’
    • ‘The result is a lower-class household which often becomes an extended matriarchy with the oldest woman at the head and her unmarried children, married daughters, and grandchildren constituting the household.’
    • ‘Though by now anthropologists reject claims that early societies were matriarchal, some feminist theorists still cling to the idea that primitive matriarchies once dotted the globe.’
    • ‘Matrilineal kinship does not mean that there is a matriarchy.’
    • ‘Women, except for the rare instances of societal matriarchies, have been perceived as inferior in intelligence, inadequate in controlling their body fluids, and predominantly sexually moronic.’
    • ‘This is by no means to argue that a return to matriarchy would be either possible or desirable.’
    • ‘The passiveness and peace of a matriarchy with the passion and drive and energy of a patriarchy is the best blend, and will ultimately create a society that can stand against anything.’
    • ‘Interesting how far the story of the pre-existing matriarchy goes back.’
    • ‘But how are we to know whether matriarchy did not have similar extremes?’
    • ‘Another 1970s strategy of empowerment was to turn to the misty past and recast prehistory in a hopeful light: perhaps a Neolithic matriarchy predated the Iron Age patriarchy.’
    • ‘All I'm saying is that it is wrong to replace a patriarchy with a matriarchy, because then nothing is learned, no insights are gained and no real cooperation between men and women is achieved.’
    • ‘The new matriarchy needs to come out like a phoenix.’
    1. 1.1A form of social organization in which descent and relationship are reckoned through the female line.
      • ‘The activists sided with his mother-in-law, thus appearing to support matriarchy over patriarchy.’
      • ‘Part of their theorizing around matriarchy comes from their mother, who insisted that despite their different fathers the fact that they all came out of her meant that they were sisters - nothing more, nothing less.’
    2. 1.2[mass noun]The state of being an older, powerful woman in a family or group.
      ‘she cherished a dream of matriarchy—catered to by grandchildren’
      • ‘We were not allowed to read of the Queen Mother's foibles, of course, perhaps because she achieved fame not through talent but via marriage and matriarchy.’
      • ‘For thousands of years before the first movements of patriarchy, the archaeological record is full of female figurines indicating worship of goddesses, female fertility, or matriarchy.’
      • ‘From this parallel it is to be seen that the development of consciousness that corresponds to matriarchy must little by little be released by the archetypal masculine.’