Definition of patrician in US English:

patrician

noun

  • 1An aristocrat or nobleman.

    • ‘They tended to be quite popular with the plebeians, though the patricians were known to get very jealous.’
    • ‘Is it Coriolanus, or instead those who surround him, the plebeians, the patricians?’
    • ‘He brushed some imaginary lint off of his sleeve, and assumed the pose of a bored patrician.’
    • ‘Long after the autumn of 1880, far more plebeians than patricians experienced the pain of this communal punishment.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sharp divisions are established by law between patricians and plebeians.’
    • ‘Ideology justifies the rule of each ruling class, whether as chieftains, patricians, landowners, or those with capital, the bourgeoisie.’
    • ‘What are her obligations as the last of the patricians?’
    • ‘In 1561 Francesco expanded on this concept by noting that young Venetian patricians were destined to mature into grave senators.’
    • ‘Or that the patricians (like you) still think the plebeians didn't understand the treaty.’
    • ‘Then he turned back to the rich young patricians who were all laughing at her expense.’
    • ‘In 1981, he became the country's fourth prime minister, but the first commoner after a trio of blue-blooded patricians.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But we do not have to go to such extremes - in either cost or category - to prove that patricians love posing as plebeians.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But the bulk of it was sold off to the rich patricians who had made fortunes from war and provincial administration.’
    • ‘The children in Chardin's paintings are not little patricians but youngsters from his personal circle of craftsmen and small traders.’
    • ‘Power, he fastidiously believed, ought simply to be handed to patricians like himself.’
    • ‘The churches, convents, and all the dwellings of the former patricians were in ruins.’
    • ‘Now there, he thought, was the face and bearing of a true patrician.’
    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.
      • ‘He's a wealthy patrician, but he does have an impressive record of military service.’
      • ‘Unlike many Virginia patricians of his time, he was able both to live elegantly and to preserve his property.’
      • ‘The patricians entrusted with Yale University's future knew it was time to swing into action.’
      • ‘He has tried to break his image as a cold patrician from New England.’
      • ‘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.
      • ‘A patrician could serve as tribune, though this was not common.’
      • ‘Villa owners, that is, former Roman patricians, were forced to settle their slaves on their own estates.’
      • ‘In ancient Roman society it was represented by the patricians.’
      • ‘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 486 and 511, Clovis conquered a few provinces still ruled by Roman patricians.’
      • ‘Indeed, the celebrated ancient chronicler Plinius wrote: In Istra, the Roman patricians feel like gods!’
      • ‘The intention was to recreate the environment of the patricians of ancient Rome and to celebrate agrarian, pastoral, Christian, and cultured life.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Still others sold their votes to wealthy patricians, thus giving up one of the key features of their citizenship.’
      • ‘Another very common form of interaction between socially disproportionate individuals was that between Roman patricians and their freedmen.’
      • ‘A Roman patrician's pride and joy was his vegetables.’
      • ‘The Romans also gave us the expression ‘plebs’, since Roman citizens were categorised either as patricians or plebeians.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Head and shoulders above the other players stood Julius Caesar, a patrician who regarded glory as his birthright.’
      • ‘Oppressed, as they thought, by the patricians, the plebeians in a body walked out of Rome and set themselves up on a neighbouring hill.’

adjective

  • 1Belonging to or characteristic of the aristocracy.

    ‘a proud, patrician face’
    • ‘And her patrician demeanour bespeaks her standing in the sport over which she has reigned supreme for a period spanning three Olympics.’
    • ‘This tone of slight snobbishness, a patrician aversion to vulgar middle-class prejudice, is typical of the book.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The latter was of patrician birth and a political hostess.’
    • ‘The patrician elite who financed and directed the institution saw its mission as the eradication of class conflict.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These are studies of sunlight on the shimmering white summer dresses worn by patrician women and children around the turn of the twentieth century.’
    • ‘Mary, smiling, reads a prayer-book, akin to the one she appears in, with patrician composure.’
    • ‘With his patrician ancestry, going back to the Puritans on his mother's side, he acts as though he is born to rule.’
    • ‘Some were seated with patrician affability at windows with dramatic swagged curtains.’
    • ‘On this occasion, he spoke of the function and importance of art in Hamburg's public realm to an audience of patrician elite.’
    • ‘We may remember that at about the same time over 70 per cent of patrician women in Venice were nuns.’
    • ‘We see he's not a god or an angel, but an ordinary man - a handsome, patrician Englishman to be sure, but mortal.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The bourgeois or patrician oligarchies found it easier to defend their privileges.’
    • ‘Municipal reform might well replace a patrician oligarchy of local gentry and merchants, weakening collective action and undermining the corporate, civic culture.’
    • ‘Access to furniture was more widespread among the ancient Greeks, whose patrician classes demanded a refined type of chair called the klismos.’
    • ‘But that is a fault of the patrician government.’
    • ‘His straight, patrician nose simply added to the resolute, aristocratic aura surrounding him.’
    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.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the 1860s a few patrician merchants' wives subscribed independently on guarantee lists of the German opera.’
    2. 1.2 Belonging to the nobility of ancient Rome.
      • ‘A Roman woman of patrician dress and bearing stood in the doorway, accompanied by two soldiers draped in civilian clothes.’
      • ‘Wealthy plebeians were assimilated into the patrician class.’
      • ‘Rising dowries also impinged on patrician men, forcing almost half of them to remain unmarried during the fifteenth century.’
      • ‘Born in 100 BC of a leading patrician family, Caesar rose to be consul in 59 BC.’
      • ‘In ancient Rome clients were plebeians who were bound in a subservient relationship with their patrician patron.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To become consul, Coriolanus has to gain the support of both the patrician senate and the Roman people.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

patrician

/pəˈtriSHən//pəˈtrɪʃən/