patriarch

A patriarch is a male leader. Your father might be the patriarch of your family, but your kid brother could be the patriarch of his club house.

You can trace patriarch back to its ancient Greek root pater meaning "father." What do you think a female leader is called? You got it — matriarch. Although the noun patriarch specifically refers to a male head of the family, it can more generally refer to any older, respected male. In terms of the Old Testament, patriarch refers to the men considered to be the fathers of the human race, including Jacob and Isaac.

Definitions of patriarch
1

n the male head of family or tribe

Synonyms:
paterfamilias
Type of:
head of household
the head of a household or family or tribe
adult male, man
an adult person who is male (as opposed to a woman)

n any of the early biblical characters regarded as fathers of the human race

Examples:
show 10 examples...
hide 10 examples...
Abraham
the first of the Old Testament patriarchs and the father of Isaac; according to Genesis, God promised to give Abraham's family (the Hebrews) the land of Canaan (the Promised Land); God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son
Benjamin
(Old Testament) the youngest and best-loved son of Jacob and Rachel and one of the twelve forebears of the tribes of Israel
Isaac
(Old Testament) the second patriarch; son of Abraham and Sarah who was offered by Abraham as a sacrifice to God; father of Jacob and Esau
Ishmael
(Old Testament) the son of Abraham who was cast out after the birth of Isaac; considered the forebear of 12 Arabian tribes
Issachar
(Old Testament) a son of Jacob and a forebear of one of the tribes of Israel
Joseph
(Old Testament) the 11th son of Jacob and one of the 12 patriarchs of Israel; Jacob gave Joseph a coat of many colors, which made his brothers jealous and they sold him into slavery in Egypt
Judah
(Old Testament) the fourth son of Jacob who was forebear of one of the tribes of Israel; one of his descendants was to be the Messiah
Methuselah
(Old Testament) a patriarch (grandfather of Noah) who is said to have lived 969 years
Noah
the Hebrew patriarch who saved himself and his family and the animals by building an ark in which they survived 40 days and 40 nights of rain; the story of Noah and the flood is told in the Book of Genesis
Reuben
(Old Testment) a son of Jacob and forefather of one of the tribes of Israel
Types:
antediluvian, antediluvian patriarch
any of the early patriarchs who lived prior to the Noachian deluge
Jacob
(Old Testament) son of Isaac; brother of Esau; father of the twelve patriarchs of Israel; Jacob wrestled with God and forced God to bless him, so God gave Jacob the new name of Israel (meaning `one who has been strong against God')
Simeon
(Old Testament) the 2nd son of Jacob and one of the 12 patriarchs of Israel
Type of:
father, forefather, sire
the founder of a family

n title for the heads of the Eastern Orthodox Churches (in Istanbul and Alexandria and Moscow and Jerusalem)

Examples:
Nestorius
Syrian who was a Christian bishop and Patriarch of Constantinople in the early fifth century; one of the major heresies concerning the doctrine of the hypostasis of Christ was named after him (died in 451)
Photius
Patriarch of Constantinople and saint of the Greek Orthodox Church; was condemned by the Fourth Council of Constantinople in 869 but was reinstated by a later pope
Type of:
spiritual leader
a leader in religious or sacred affairs

n a man who is older and higher in rank than yourself

Type of:
Methuselah, graybeard, greybeard, old man
a man who is very old

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.