Latin, via or reinforced by Old French matriarche, from māter (“mother”) + -archa, -arches, from Ancient Greek -άρχης (-árkhēs), from ἀρχός (arkhós, “chief”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ergʰ- (“to begin, rule, command”). Surface analysis matri- + -arch.
matriarch (plural matriarchs)
- A female leader of a family, a tribe or an ethnic or religious group.
- The dominant female in a family group of elephants
- A female founder of a political or religious movement, an organization or an enterprise.