AskDefine | Define matriarch

Dictionary Definition



1 a female head of a family or tribe [syn: materfamilias]
2 a feisty older woman with a big bosom (as drawn in cartoons)

User Contributed Dictionary



From Latin mater (meaning mother) + -arch.


  1. A female leader of a family, a tribe or an ethnic or religious group.
  2. A female founder of a political or religious movement, an organization or an enterprise.


See also

Extensive Definition

A matriarch, clan-mother or 'chief' is an autocratic female ruler of a human family, clan, or kinship, or of an animal grouping.
The matriarch is usually the oldest female in an extended family. Her authority over the others, as well as their trust in her, often stems from her knowledge and life skills, especially in the acquisition and distribution of food.
Matriarchs hold a significant position in several animal societies. Notably, elephants, hyenas, ants, and bees are dependent on the leadership of their matriarchs.
matriarch in Serbo-Croatian: Matrijarh

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Methuselah, abbess, antediluvian, antique, back number, chatelaine, conservative, dad, dam, dame, dodo, dowager, elder, first lady, fogy, fossil, foster mother, fud, fuddy-duddy, genetrix, goodwife, governess, grande dame, granny, great lady, has-been, homemaker, housewife, longhair, ma, madam, mam, mama, mammy, mater, materfamilias, maternal ancestor, matron, mid-Victorian, mistress, mom, mommy, mossback, mother, mother superior, mummy, old believer, old crock, old dodo, old fogy, old liner, old man, old poop, old woman, old-timer, patriarch, pop, pops, reactionary, regular old fogy, relic, square, starets, stepmother, the old woman, traditionalist
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