Origin of "patriarchy"

Ronald Kephart (rkephart@OSPREY.UNF.EDU)
Mon, 18 Mar 1996 15:03:19 -0500

In message <Pine.PMDF.3.91.960318105730.543169282A-100000@OREGON.UOREGON.EDU>
Phil Young writes:
> The etymologists among you can correct me if I'm
> wrong, but I believe patriarchy is derived from Greek, not Latin.

Right, but not quite that simple (American Heritage Dictionary of the English
Language, New College Edition):
Greek patriarkhes ->
Late Latin patriarcha ->
Old French patriarche ->
Middle English patriarke

But watch out. Their defintions are: (1) a system of social organization in
which descent and succession are traced thru the male line; (2) The rule of a
tribe or family by men.

Apparently they (probably accurately) reflect the folk confusion between
patrilineal and patriarchal.

Ronald Kephart
Dept of Language & Literature
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL USA 32224-2645
Phone: (904) 646-2580