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4 definitions found
 for patriarch
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Patriarch \Pa"tri*arch\ (p[=a]"tr[i^]*[aum]rk), n. [F.
     patriarche, L. patriarcha, Gr. paria`rchhs, fr. paria`
     lineage, especially on the father's side, race; path`r father
     + 'archo`s a leader, chief, fr. 'a`rchein to lead, rule. See
     Father, Archaic.]
     1. The father and ruler of a family; one who governs his
        family or descendants by paternal right; -- usually
        applied to heads of families in ancient history,
        especially in Biblical and Jewish history to those who
        lived before the time of Moses.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     2. (R. C. Ch. & Gr. Ch.) A dignitary superior to the order of
        archbishops; as, the patriarch of Constantinople, of
        Alexandria, or of Antioch.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     3. A venerable old man; an elder. Also used figuratively.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              The patriarch hoary, the sage of his kith and the
              hamlet.                               --Longfellow.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              The monarch oak, the partiarch of trees. --Dryde.
        [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  patriarch
      n 1: title for the heads of the Eastern Orthodox Churches (in
           Istanbul and Alexandria and Moscow and Jerusalem)
      2: the male head of family or tribe [syn: patriarch,
         paterfamilias]
      3: any of the early biblical characters regarded as fathers of
         the human race
      4: a man who is older and higher in rank than yourself

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  166 Moby Thesaurus words for "patriarch":
     Aaronic priesthood, Father Time, Grand Penitentiary, Holy Father,
     Melchizedek priesthood, Methuselah, Nestor, Old Paar, Seventy,
     abba, abuna, ancestors, antecedents, antediluvian, antipope,
     antique, apostle, archbishop, archdeacon, architect, archpriest,
     ascendants, author, back number, bishop, bishop coadjutor, boss,
     bwana, canon, cardinal, cardinal bishop, cardinal deacon,
     cardinal priest, centenarian, chaplain, chef, chief,
     church dignitary, coadjutor, conservative, creator, curate, dad,
     daddy, deacon, dean, diocesan, dodo, dotard, ecclesiarch, elder,
     elders, employer, exarch, father, fathers, fogy, forebears,
     forefathers, fossil, foster father, founder, fud, fuddy-duddy,
     gaffer, geezer, generator, genitor, golden-ager, goodman, governor,
     gramps, grandfather, grandfathers, grandparents, grandsire, granny,
     graybeard, guru, has-been, hierarch, high priest, husband,
     inventor, liege, liege lord, longhair, lord, lord paramount, maker,
     master, matriarch, metropolitan, mid-Victorian, mossback,
     nonagenarian, octogenarian, old believer, old chap, old codger,
     old crock, old dodo, old dog, old duffer, old fogy, old geezer,
     old gent, old gentleman, old liner, old man, old party, old poop,
     old woman, old-timer, older, oldster, originator, overlord, pa,
     padrone, pantaloon, pap, papa, pappy, paramount, pater,
     paterfamilias, patriarchs, patron, penitentiary, pontiff, pop,
     pope, pops, prebendary, predecessors, prelate, presbyter, priest,
     primate, progenitors, rabbi, reactionary, rector, regular old fogy,
     relic, rural dean, sahib, seigneur, seignior, senior citizen,
     septuagenarian, sexagenarian, sire, square, starets, stepfather,
     subdean, suffragan, teacher, the old man, the quiet-voiced elders,
     traditionalist, venerable sir, veteran, vicar
  
  

From Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary :

  Patriarch
     a name employed in the New Testament with reference to Abraham
     (Heb. 7:4), the sons of Jacob (Acts 7:8, 9), and to David
     (2:29). This name is generally applied to the progenitors of
     families or "heads of the fathers" (Josh. 14:1) mentioned in
     Scripture, and they are spoken of as antediluvian (from Adam to
     Noah) and post-diluvian (from Noah to Jacob) patriachs. But the
     expression "the patriarch," by way of eminence, is applied to
     the twelve sons of Jacob, or to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
     
       "Patriachal longevity presents itself as one of the most
     striking of the facts concerning mankind which the early history
     of the Book of Genesis places before us...There is a large
     amount of consentient tradition to the effect that the life of
     man was originally far more prolonged than it is at present,
     extending to at least several hundred years. The Babylonians,
     Egyptians, and Chinese exaggerated these hundreds into
     thousands. The Greeks and Romans, with more moderation, limited
     human life within a thousand or eight hundred years. The Hindus
     still farther shortened the term. Their books taught that in the
     first age of the world man was free from diseases, and lived
     ordinarily four hundred years; in the second age the term of
     life was reduced from four hundred to three hundred; in the
     third it became two hundred; in the fourth and last it was
     brought down to one hundred" (Rawlinson's Historical
     Illustrations).
     

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