Pa`tri*ar"chal (?), a. [Cf. F. patriarcal.]
Of or pertaining to a patriarch or to patriarchs; possessed by, or subject to, patriarchs; as, patriarchal authority or jurisdiction; a patriarchal see; a patriarchal church.
Characteristic of a patriarch; venerable.
About whose patriarchal knee
Late the little children clung.
Having an organization of society and government in which the head of the family exercises authority over all its generations.
Patriarchal cross Her., a cross, the shaft of which is intersected by two transverse beams, the upper one being the smaller. See Illust. (2) of Cross. -- Patriarchal dispensation, the divine dispensation under which the patriarchs lived before the law given by Moses.
© Webster 1913.