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Definitions of Matriarchy

  1. (noun) A society, system, or group in which women dominate men and have the power and authority.
  2. (noun) A group or family where the mother or oldest female is the head of the family with descent typically traced through the female line.

Matriarchy Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: ma·tri·ar·chy

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /mAY-tree-ahr-kee/
  • British English – /mAY-triah-kee/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈmeɪtriˌɑrki/
  • British English – /ˈmeɪtrɪɑːki/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: matriarchies
  • The existence of a true matriarchal society is often debated in the social sciences.
  • In contrast to a matriarchy, a patriarchy is a society or group in which men dominate women and have the power and authority.
  • Also called matriarchate.
  • A (noun) matriarch or (noun) matriarchist (adverb) matriarchally heads a (adjective) matriarchic or (adjective) matriarchal society.

Additional Information

Related Terms

Works Consulted

Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Collins English Dictionary: Complete and Unabridged. 6th ed. 2003. Glasgow, Scotland: Collins.

Ferrante, Joan. 2011. Sociology: A Global Perspective. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2011. Sociology: The Core. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Kendall, Diana. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Shepard, Jon M. 2010. Sociology. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.

Thompson, William E., and Joseph V. Hickey. 2012. Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Tischler, Henry L. 2011. Introduction to Sociology. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Cite the Definition of Matriarchy

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “matriarchy.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 23, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/matriarchy/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

matriarchy. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/matriarchy/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “matriarchy.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 23, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/matriarchy/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“matriarchy.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 23 Jun. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/matriarchy/>.