Advertisement - Continue reading below

Definition of "paternalism" [pa•ter•nal•ism]

  • A policy or practice of treating or governing people in a fatherly manner, especially by providing for their needs without giving them rights or responsibilities. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "paternalism" in a sentence
  • "I would like to know what "paternalism" is supposed to mean as it applies to the state."
  • "The term paternalism has its roots in the notion of paternal administration ” government as by a father to administer in the way a beneficent father raises his children."
  • "This combination of selfishness and paternalism is both shocking and repugnant."