Meaning of matriarchate

ma•tri•ar•chate

Pronunciation: (mā'trē-är"kit, -kāt), [key]
— n.
  1. a matriarchal system or community.
  2. a social order formerly believed to have preceded patriarchal tribal society in the early period of human communal life, embodying rule by the mothers, or by all adult women.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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