1. A person of refined upbringing, manners, and tastes.
2. A member of an aristocracy; an aristocrat.
3. A member of one of the noble families of the ancient Roman Republic, which before the third century BC had exclusive rights to the Senate and the magistracies.
4. Used as a title for members of a class of honorary nobility appointed by the Byzantine emperors.
5. A member of the hereditary ruling class in the medieval free cities of Italy and Germany.
[Middle English patricion, from Old French patricien, from Latin patricius, from patrēs (cōnscrīptī), enrolled fathers, senators, pl. of pater, patr-, father; see pəter- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.