(1) a married woman, especially one who is mature and staid or dignified and has an established social position;
(2) a woman who has charge of the domestic affairs of a hospital, prison, or other institution;
(3) a woman serving as a guard, warden, or attendant for women or girls, as in a prison.


(1) a person who is a customer, client, or paying guest, especially a regular one, of a store, hotel, or the like;
(2) a person who supports with money, gifts, efforts, or endorsement an artist, writer, museum, cause, charity, institution, special event, or the like;
(3) a person whose support or protection is solicited or acknowledged by the dedication of a book or other work;
(4) patron saint;
(5) Roman History. the protector of a dependent or client, often the former master of a freedman still retaining certain rights over him;
(6) Ecclesiastical. a person who has the right of presenting a member of the clergy to a benefice.

They both ultimately came from Latin mater and pater, didn't they? And why does Matron have relatively similar meanings while Patron has several different ones?

1 Answer 1


The entry for patron primarily denotes patronus (protector) as the origin of patron, and patronus as a derivative of pater (father), which wikitionary confirms. The connection then becomes father -> protector -> supporter -> paying customer, which follows a relatively logical progression, and explains the many different definitions that the word took on throughout history, as you listed them.

Mater, on the other hand, apparently did not have the same connotation of being a protector, so it became matrona, which simply means "married woman". This led to a far less diverse evolution of its meaning, as is evidenced by the few, similar definitions for it.


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