Definition of patrician in US English:

patrician

noun

  • 1An aristocrat or nobleman.

    • ‘Then he turned back to the rich young patricians who were all laughing at her expense.’
    • ‘What are her obligations as the last of the patricians?’
    • ‘Long after the autumn of 1880, far more plebeians than patricians experienced the pain of this communal punishment.’
    • ‘But we do not have to go to such extremes - in either cost or category - to prove that patricians love posing as plebeians.’
    • ‘Power, he fastidiously believed, ought simply to be handed to patricians like himself.’
    • ‘They tended to be quite popular with the plebeians, though the patricians were known to get very jealous.’
    • ‘Well-to-do patricians were the usual patrons on the exclusive courses in England and America, partly because equipment was so expensive, but also due to the rigid caste system.’
    • ‘Both patricians and guildmen sought to defend their position and, like the nobles, they tried to do so both by self-regulation and by privileges.’
    • ‘The children in Chardin's paintings are not little patricians but youngsters from his personal circle of craftsmen and small traders.’
    • ‘He brushed some imaginary lint off of his sleeve, and assumed the pose of a bored patrician.’
    • ‘During the year 1770 Charles Burney was travelling in Italy and when he was in Venice he wrote on 12 August that he attended a concert in the house of the patrician, Signor Grimani.’
    • ‘Or that the patricians (like you) still think the plebeians didn't understand the treaty.’
    • ‘In 1981, he became the country's fourth prime minister, but the first commoner after a trio of blue-blooded patricians.’
    • ‘But the bulk of it was sold off to the rich patricians who had made fortunes from war and provincial administration.’
    • ‘The churches, convents, and all the dwellings of the former patricians were in ruins.’
    • ‘Is it Coriolanus, or instead those who surround him, the plebeians, the patricians?’
    • ‘Ideology justifies the rule of each ruling class, whether as chieftains, patricians, landowners, or those with capital, the bourgeoisie.’
    • ‘Sharp divisions are established by law between patricians and plebeians.’
    • ‘Now there, he thought, was the face and bearing of a true patrician.’
    • ‘In 1561 Francesco expanded on this concept by noting that young Venetian patricians were destined to mature into grave senators.’
    aristocrat, grandee, noble, nobleman, noblewoman, lord, lady, peer, peeress, peer of the realm, titled man, titled person, titled woman, landowner
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    1. 1.1North American A member of a long-established wealthy family.
      • ‘Unlike many Virginia patricians of his time, he was able both to live elegantly and to preserve his property.’
      • ‘He has tried to break his image as a cold patrician from New England.’
      • ‘He's a wealthy patrician, but he does have an impressive record of military service.’
      • ‘The patricians entrusted with Yale University's future knew it was time to swing into action.’
      • ‘Like so many other young British patricians, he was saved from becoming a complete emotional cripple by a tenderhearted nanny.’
    2. 1.2 A member of a noble family or class in ancient Rome.
      • ‘Another very common form of interaction between socially disproportionate individuals was that between Roman patricians and their freedmen.’
      • ‘Head and shoulders above the other players stood Julius Caesar, a patrician who regarded glory as his birthright.’
      • ‘Between 486 and 511, Clovis conquered a few provinces still ruled by Roman patricians.’
      • ‘A patrician could serve as tribune, though this was not common.’
      • ‘Oppressed, as they thought, by the patricians, the plebeians in a body walked out of Rome and set themselves up on a neighbouring hill.’
      • ‘Montague has learned from Beckett; in both there is the iron resignation and sadness of a Roman patrician, a Cicero, or, better perhaps, a Seneca.’
      • ‘Between 500 and 300 B.C., there developed within the body of the citizenry, a division between two social groups or classes: patricians and plebeians.’
      • ‘Indeed, the celebrated ancient chronicler Plinius wrote: In Istra, the Roman patricians feel like gods!’
      • ‘A Roman patrician's pride and joy was his vegetables.’
      • ‘Still others sold their votes to wealthy patricians, thus giving up one of the key features of their citizenship.’
      • ‘Villa owners, that is, former Roman patricians, were forced to settle their slaves on their own estates.’
      • ‘This was established early in the conflict between patricians and plebeians.’
      • ‘Over Roman armour, he wears, strangely, the robe of a quattrocento patrician, frequently used in depictions of Florentine poets and men of letters.’
      • ‘Coriolanus charts the destructive contest between a vain aristocratic soldier and the self-seeking patricians who claim to represent the masses.’
      • ‘In ancient Roman society it was represented by the patricians.’
      • ‘The Romans also gave us the expression ‘plebs’, since Roman citizens were categorised either as patricians or plebeians.’
      • ‘The intention was to recreate the environment of the patricians of ancient Rome and to celebrate agrarian, pastoral, Christian, and cultured life.’

adjective

  • 1Belonging to or characteristic of the aristocracy.

    ‘a proud, patrician face’
    • ‘We see he's not a god or an angel, but an ordinary man - a handsome, patrician Englishman to be sure, but mortal.’
    • ‘This tone of slight snobbishness, a patrician aversion to vulgar middle-class prejudice, is typical of the book.’
    • ‘Municipal reform might well replace a patrician oligarchy of local gentry and merchants, weakening collective action and undermining the corporate, civic culture.’
    • ‘The patrician elite who financed and directed the institution saw its mission as the eradication of class conflict.’
    • ‘Venetian patrician society not only tolerated but flaunted courtesans, who star in some of the best Venetian paintings.’
    • ‘As industrial employment declined, the luxury of patrician landowners living from landed income maintained the demand for urban services.’
    • ‘His straight, patrician nose simply added to the resolute, aristocratic aura surrounding him.’
    • ‘Some were seated with patrician affability at windows with dramatic swagged curtains.’
    • ‘Mary, smiling, reads a prayer-book, akin to the one she appears in, with patrician composure.’
    • ‘The Splendido, a former monastery and later a patrician villa, soon became what it is today: one of Europe's most exclusive, and expensive, hotels.’
    • ‘Access to furniture was more widespread among the ancient Greeks, whose patrician classes demanded a refined type of chair called the klismos.’
    • ‘With his patrician ancestry, going back to the Puritans on his mother's side, he acts as though he is born to rule.’
    • ‘The latter was of patrician birth and a political hostess.’
    • ‘We may remember that at about the same time over 70 per cent of patrician women in Venice were nuns.’
    • ‘The bourgeois or patrician oligarchies found it easier to defend their privileges.’
    • ‘But that is a fault of the patrician government.’
    • ‘These are studies of sunlight on the shimmering white summer dresses worn by patrician women and children around the turn of the twentieth century.’
    • ‘On this occasion, he spoke of the function and importance of art in Hamburg's public realm to an audience of patrician elite.’
    • ‘And her patrician demeanour bespeaks her standing in the sport over which she has reigned supreme for a period spanning three Olympics.’
    • ‘Dressed in a well-cut navy blazer, cashmere turtleneck and charcoal trousers, he cuts a patrician figure as he orders a pot of tea in the Merrion hotel.’
    aristocratic, noble, noble-born, of noble birth, titled, blue-blooded, high-born, well born, upper-class, elite, landowning, landed, born with a silver spoon in one's mouth
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    1. 1.1North American Belonging to or characteristic of a long-established and wealthy family.
      • ‘The major department stores, while one might be a bit trendier and another a bit more patrician, all sell pretty much the same stuff.’
      • ‘Was last night as close as the upstart governor will ever get to beating the patrician Senator?’
      • ‘If I had to draw a parallel I would say they are like the patrician families of the reconstruction American South, trying to maintain their historic dominance after the end of slavery.’
      • ‘In the late nineteenth century, patrician historians produced hundreds of books, prints, lectures, classes, and tours about an imagined colonial city known as Old New York.’
      • ‘In the 1860s a few patrician merchants' wives subscribed independently on guarantee lists of the German opera.’
      • ‘Perhaps it was from this socially secure family that Reynold received his patrician ease, his apparent freedom from self-doubt, and his refined aesthetic sense.’
      • ‘New Englanders despised New Yorkers who reciprocated the sentiment, and neither felt much affinity for the patrician Virginians or the farmers of the Carolinas and Georgia.’
    2. 1.2 Belonging to the nobility of ancient Rome.
      • ‘Rising dowries also impinged on patrician men, forcing almost half of them to remain unmarried during the fifteenth century.’
      • ‘Make time for Rome's patrician galleries - private collections of the great princes, in many cases still right in the family palace where they were first hung.’
      • ‘Wealthy plebeians were assimilated into the patrician class.’
      • ‘Born in 100 BC of a leading patrician family, Caesar rose to be consul in 59 BC.’
      • ‘A Roman woman of patrician dress and bearing stood in the doorway, accompanied by two soldiers draped in civilian clothes.’
      • ‘To become consul, Coriolanus has to gain the support of both the patrician senate and the Roman people.’
      • ‘In ancient Rome clients were plebeians who were bound in a subservient relationship with their patrician patron.’
      • ‘She became the idol of patrician society of Rome.’
      • ‘This was the era of patrician history, when scholars followed the great classical historians in holding up to posterity examples of errors, failings, and laudable deeds.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French patricien, from Latin patricius ‘having a noble father’, from pater, patr- ‘father’.

Pronunciation

patrician

/pəˈtriSHən//pəˈtrɪʃən/