Definition of matron in English:



  • 1British A woman in charge of domestic and medical arrangements at a boarding school or other institution.

    ‘she initiated training for matrons of residential homes’
    as name ‘‘This is preposterous,’ sighed Matron’
    • ‘The boarding school matron as sex symbol is alive and well.’
    • ‘He then acquired a harmonica of his own and drove the matron crazy.’
    • ‘The matron of the private home wrote to a local public representative to highlight the old woman's plight after she had accumulated debts of 6000 in overdue payments.’
    • ‘Yet she came to enjoy the harsh regime at King's, and grew to respect and admire the teachers and matron who were often her tormentors for four weeks.’
    • ‘Inside resided the matron, her two patrons, two daughters, and two sons.’
    • ‘The matron addressed those who worked so hard for the good cause and she said by way of thank you she treated the committee and staff to a fine meal and all had a very pleasant evening.’
    • ‘At 65 years of age, having only ever taken three days off work due to sickness, the matron has a lot to be thankful for and is certainly well deserving of a rest.’
    • ‘In 1944 I was offered a position as matron of St Saviour's Orphanage.’
    • ‘While girls picked fights with other inmates they often saved their fury for the matrons and nuns who oversaw them.’
    • ‘The matron of the nursing home, Sister Theonilla, is also in the picture.’
    • ‘We took our seats and a little while later one of the two matrons who staff the place came over with a tray laden with the main courses.’
    • ‘Although attending a fee-paying school, she lives with her mother, the matron of the YWCA hostel they live in.’
    • ‘It had been arranged that they would stop off at a pub to meet other residents - one who had been travelling in the matron's car and others in a minibus.’
    • ‘She was the oldest girl, being 17, and the matron had taught her everything she knew.’
    1. 1.1 The woman in charge of the nursing in a hospital (the official term is now senior nursing officer)
      ‘she had been matron of a Belgian Hospital’
      • ‘A job description has been compiled with help from existing matrons and hospital bosses to provide a consistent approach to the role.’
      • ‘Our modern matrons ' role will be a combination of the best of the past coupled with the needs of a hospital at the forefront of medical advances.’
      • ‘But the matron still expected me to work and I was forced to hop around the wards tending to my patients.’
      • ‘The matron had a double role: she would arrange the ‘third party’ adoptions, which are no longer legal, of the children born there.’
      • ‘In 1907 she was appointed first matron of the Berkendael Medical Institute at Brussels, Belgium.’
      • ‘The anaesthetic was ether, dribbled on to the patient's gauze mask by the matron of the public hospital, and it was a Caesarian section for twins.’
      • ‘The matron and staff and all who took part in the Christmas festivities are to be applauded for their concern for the sick.’
      • ‘The matron is a firm believer in the ability of dogs to help patients feel less lonely and depressed and decided to unleash canine healing power onto the wards.’
      • ‘There is no earthly reason why hospitals should be badly run; they merely need good managers, or better still, a matron.’
      • ‘One Sunday night, his father came in to visit him and a Presbyterian matron explained that he was to prepare himself for the worse - the disease had become chronic.’
      • ‘Both groups received a warm enthusiastic welcome from the matron, staff and patients and were thanked for their generosity.’
      • ‘She was the deputy matron in St Columbus but decided to take time out to rear her family.’
      • ‘Each matron would get a budget of at least £10,000 which they could control themselves to improve patient experience.’
      • ‘The matron in Ward Six is an example to all her other professional colleagues.’
      • ‘So we may soon see matrons appointed to all hospitals.’
      • ‘There are now more than 2,000 matrons in post across the country and they act as a visible point of contact for patients, relatives and carers, giving assistance, advice and support.’
      • ‘The number of patients has increased so much during the past year that it has become overcrowded, the matron has revealed.’
      • ‘Under new arrangements, matrons will have overall responsibility for managing nursing staff, resources and budgets relating to the nursing service.’
      • ‘Old-style hospital matrons disappeared from wards as management roles changed in the mid-1970s.’
      • ‘Each hospital was to have two matrons who were in charge of obtaining and organizing food stores.’
    2. 1.2US A female prison officer.
      • ‘The next cut shows us Susan, in prison for attempting to skip her cab fare, taking a light from the prison matron and blowing the smoke defiantly straight back into her face.’
      • ‘The prison guards were all male, and there were no matrons for the female prisoners.’
      • ‘In 1843 the gaol had a governor, two turnkeys and two guards but no matron for female prisoners until 1850 when the second stage of the gaol was completed.’
      • ‘Society, in the form of the prison matrons, punishes Billie for daring to transgress its most covert laws and moral structures concerning women, especially black women.’
      • ‘Yet if she marries two of the men for life, she will become the matron of a state prison.’
      lady, girl, member of the fair sex, member of the gentle sex, female
      View synonyms
  • 2An older married woman, especially one who is staid or dignified.

    ‘respectable suburban matrons’
    • ‘Why, one might ask, are the matrons of this little village procuring the potions of a black-clad spinster to poison their lumpen, ruddy old husbands?’
    • ‘She died in America in 1773, a respectable matron aged thirty-eight.’
    • ‘And to top off the day no house is complete without the matron cooking some kinda fish.’
    • ‘Her head was always filled with silly dreams of becoming a wealthy and respected matron, playing bridge with the Astors and acquiring Baroque art.’
    • ‘The next morning, the proprietress of the B & B, waggling an admonishing finger as only middle-aged Welsh matrons can, suggested that we should find alternate lodging.’
    • ‘Now I know what those matrons on tour buses to Vegas were getting so excited about.’
    • ‘It makes me a little sad, the thought that the world may lose those girlish matrons emanating lavender and lemon verbena clouds, those out of touch aunts with their funny ways and gentle, kindly hearts.’
    • ‘With no divorce laws, the church authorities were used to such complaints - and regularly employed a jury of matrons or ‘honest women’ to substantiate the claims.’
    • ‘It can be hard to spot the youth of the town these days, outnumbered as they are by steel-haired matrons and ‘trendy’ mums ordering cappuccinos, and at first I wondered what was wrong.’
    • ‘Created spontaneously by the matrons who had considerable scholarship in theological matters, these songs were preserved in manuscript.’
    • ‘Police were called in to control the thousands of Chinese-Americans eager to simply tour the home of the legendary matron who played such a pivotal role in almost a century of Chinese history.’
    • ‘And we're not the first to do this - Roman or Victorian matrons quite happily dabbled in things such as Ouija boards or patronised spiritualists who promised a glimpse into the unknown or a taste of the illicit.’
    • ‘Her voice is squeaky and wobbly, the voice of a dithering matron, not a singer; her timing is distracted and irregular.’
    • ‘Near the end, there is a sudden reversal of our ideas about the matron and her husband, but it is both maudlin and unconvincing.’
    • ‘I think of them then as public-spirited matrons, aunts indeed to all the little larvae that must be fed.’
    • ‘In its day, her shops attracted royalty, president's wives, society matrons, and thousands of others all over the world.’
    • ‘If only, people sigh, we still had matrons, ruling the roost with rods of iron (and ensuring that brooms and scrubbing brushes were used regularly and effectively).’
    • ‘As his wife, she does one of her practiced turns as a deviously maniacal suburban matron.’
    • ‘Later, she is presented as a rather dowdy vestal virgin or as an elegant but staid matron demurely working on her embroidery.’
    • ‘Grey-haired matrons, in their favorite skirts and lucky boots, spin and move with knobby-kneed, pot-bellied men.’


Late Middle English (in matron (sense 2)): from Old French matrone, from Latin matrona, from mater, matr- ‘mother’.