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People patronizing (sense 2) a supermarket in Shingū, Wakayama, Japan

From patron +‎ -ize (verb ending); or from Old French patroniser, from Medieval Latin patronisāre (to lead a galley as patron).[1]



patronize (third-person singular simple present patronizes, present participle patronizing, simple past and past participle patronized)

  1. (transitive) To act as a patron of; to defend, protect, or support.
    Synonyms: (obsolete) enpatron, (obsolete) patrocinate
    • [1773], [Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield], Lord Chesterfield’s Witticisms; or, The Grand Pantheon of Genius, Sentiment, and Taste. [...], London: Printed for Richard Snagg, []; J. Mariner, [], →OCLC, pages 73–74:
      A great perſonage aſked lord S——h, how the citizens came to patronize ſuch a profligate as Wilkes. His lordſhip replied, "They would patronize the devil, if he aſſiſted them to pull down a miniſter."
    • 1815 February 24, [Walter Scott], chapter VI, in Guy Mannering; or, The Astrologer. [], volume II, Edinburgh: [] James Ballantyne and Co. for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, []; and Archibald Constable and Co., [], →OCLC, page 120:
      But she is totally devoid of elegant accomplishments, excepting the knowledge of French and Italian, which she acquired from the most grotesque monster you ever beheld, whom my father has engaged as a kind of librarian, and whom he patronizes, I believe, to show his defiance of the world's opinion.
    • 1838, A[bednego] Stephens, Address to the Alumni Society of Nashville University, on the Influence of Institutions for High Letters on the Mental and Moral Character of the Nation, and the Obligation of Government to Endow and Sustain Them, Nashville, Tenn.: Printed by B. R. McKennie, →OCLC; quoted in The New York Review, volume IV, number VII, New York, N.Y.: Published by the proprietors, [], and by A[lexander] V. Blake, [], January 1839, →OCLC, page 264:
      We ask her [the government] to patronize scholars as she does her law makers. We ask her to patronize pioneers in science as she does pioneers in the woods. We ask her to support the officers of colleges as she does the officers of state, her governor, her secretary, and her judges; and then the college hall may be thrown open as it should be to every poor youth in the community free of expense.
    • 1864 May – 1865 November, Charles Dickens, “Strong of Purpose”, in Our Mutual Friend. [], volume I, London: Chapman and Hall, [], published 1865, →OCLC, book the second (Birds of a Feather), pages 297–298:
      I can't go anywhere without being Patronized. I don't want to be Patronized. If I buy a ticket for a Flower Show, or a Music Show, or any sort of Show, and pay pretty heavy for it, why am I to be Patroned and Patronessed as if the Patrons and Patronesses treated me? If there's a good thing to be done, can't it be done on its own merits? [...] I wish somebody would tell me whether other countries get Patronized to anything like the extent of this one!
    • 1920, “From Birth to Parliament”, in Josiah C. Wedgwood: The Man and His Work, Triplicane, Madras, India: S. Ganesan & Co., →OCLC, page 4:
      In those days, as now, the Royal Naval Colleges as well as Sandhurst were well patronised by the squirearchy and the youths of the blue-blood who found in the training there a congenial calling, when they were not satisfied with military training as a hobby. [...] The attraction of military and naval life was enhanced by the fact that the Royal family patronised it.
    • 1989, S. K. Thacker, “Indian Music and Its Social Bearing”, in D. Narain, editor, Research in Sociology: (Abstracts of M.A. and Ph.D. Dissertations Completed in the Department of Sociology, University of Bombay), New Delhi: Ashok Kumar Mittal, Concept Publishing Company, →ISBN, page 14:
      Music and dance, in ancient times, were mainly patronized by religion, in the same way as art was patronized in the west by the church. Right from [the] epic period, through [the] Gupta and Mughal period, art including music has been patronized by kings, princes and nobles.
  2. (transitive) To make oneself a customer of a business, especially a regular customer.
    • 1796, [Frances Burney], “Traits of Character”, in Camilla: Or, A Picture of Youth. [...] In Five Volumes, volume III, London: Printed for T[homas] Payne, []; and T[homas] Cadell Jun. and W. Davies (successors to Mr. [Thomas] Cadell) [], →OCLC, pages 368–369:
      "A chearful glaſs, then," ſaid Sir Sedley, "you think horridly intolerable?" [...] "Well, the glaſs is not what I patroniſe," ſaid Sir Theophilus; "it hips me ſo conſumedly the next day; no, I can't patroniſe the glaſs." / "Not patroniſe wine?" cried Lord Newford; "O hang it! O curſe it! that's too bad, Offy! []"
    • 1844, John Mills, chapter XI, in The English Fireside. A Tale of the Past. [...] In Three Volumes, volume I, London: Saunders and Otley, [], →OCLC, page 181:
      Mr John Puffingham was a patron—a patron to the diversified layers and strata of men and things pertaining to sublunary matters. He patronised his hatter, who, once a year, smoothed a cheap-and-shabby for his bald and shining brow. He patronised his tailor in the neighbourhood of the Minories. He patronised his washerwoman, his dustman—a pawnbroker he once patronised when an unexpected call was made upon his exhausted exchequer.
    • 1856 September 27, Ford Madox Brown, edited by Virginia Surtees, The Diary of Ford Madox Brown (Studies in British Art), New Haven, Conn., London: Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art by Yale University Press, published 1981, →ISBN, page 190:
      In the eveng[sic] a party of Artists at Millers where I met Davis who brought in a little sketch from nature, very beautiful. Miller asked me as a favour to buy it of him, which I could not refuse him although it puts me in the aucward[sic] position of patronising a man whom I think far too well of to attempt the like with – however it is done.
    • 1927, Annual Report of the Juvenile Protective Association of Chicago, Chicago, Ill.: Office [of the Juvenile Protective Association of Chicago], 816 South Halsted Street, →OCLC, pages 12–13:
      Closed Dance Halls or Taxi-Dances: These are the famous "taxi" dances as they are called in some cities, supposedly dancing schools where men patrons alone are admitted, paying ten cents a dance, a part of which goes to the girl employed by the management. [...] [W]e have made exhaustive reports on these centers of recreation and have come to the conclusion that for the most part they should not exist. Men go to them who are not accepted in our well supervised ballrooms, foreign groups patronize them which are not accepted in public ball rooms, and many men patronize them with the idea that the girls are there for the purpose of prostitution.
    • 1973, Richard Newbold Adams, “The Organization of Power, 1944–1966”, in Crucifixion by Power: Essays on Guatemalan National Social Structure, 1944–1966, Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press, →ISBN, section 4 (The 1966 Confrontation in Politics), page 223:
      The members of the regional elite, who in a sense host these more rural dwellers, in turn make their periodic trips to Guatemala City in order to fulfill certain of their needs. Although patronizing the local stores, they will also make purchases in the city, and may well prefer a Guatemala City lawyer or medical specialist to those available locally.
  3. (transitive) To assume a tone of unjustified superiority toward; to talk down to, to treat condescendingly.
    Synonyms: condescend, infantilize
    • 1851, [Georgiana A. Dalrymple], chapter XVI, in The Livingstones. A Story of Real Life. In Three Volumes, volume II, London: Colburn and Co., publishers [], →OCLC, page 273:
      "Yes, she was inclined to patronise you, I thought." / "I don't think she meant to patronise me in particular, it's the sort of manner that comes to women when they find themselves married, especially if they have had aspirations after that state for some time. []"
    • 2015, Christopher Tookey, “The Bucket List (2007)”, in Tookey’s Turkeys: The Most Annoying 144 Films from the Last 25 Years, Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire: Matador, →ISBN, page 81:
      Of course, [Jack] Nicholson patronises him [co-star Morgan Freeman], much as a hare might a tortoise, except that hares can't arch an eyebrow and smirk.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To blame, to reproach.
    • 1703, Benjamin Hoadly, The Reasonableness of Conformity to the Church of England, Represented to the Dissenting Ministers. [], 2nd corrected edition, part I, London: Printed for Tim[othy] Childe, [], →OCLC, page 81:
      This leads us to conſider how a good, and underſtanding Perſon ought to behave himſelf, when the Caſe happens, that ſome things are preſcribed in a Church which he himſelf thinks lawful, but others pretend they do not; [...] whether it is his Duty to inveigh againſt the Governours of this Church, and add life and ſtrength to the unreaſonable ſcruples of others; to patronize thoſe who ſeparate upon groundleſs prejudices, and with groſs uncharitableneſs, or to plead againſt their unreaſonable and diſorderly practices; [...]

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  1. ^ James A. H. Murray [et al.], editors (1884–1928), “Patronize, v.”, in A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (Oxford English Dictionary), volumes VII (O–P), London: Clarendon Press, →OCLC, page 563, column 1.