The Meaning of Patronize: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of patronize? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word patronize, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word patronize mean?

According to Merriam-Webster, the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, and Collins English Dictionary, the word patronize is a verb that has a few different definitions. First, the word patronize can be used to mean to provide aid or support for, such as to patronize the arts by attending galleries or theatrical performances, or by donating to arts foundations. It can also mean to treat someone haughtily or coolly by adopting an air of condescension. Finally, the word patronize can mean to frequent or to be a regular client or customer of a business. The word patronize is three syllables – pa-tron-ize, and the pronunciation of patronize is ˈpætrənaɪz.

Many types of business can be patronized, including neighborhood restaurants, dollar stores, flower shops, bicycle stores, grocery stores, a family restaurant, such food festivals like a farmer’s market, a local diner, local shops for grocery shopping, and more. When someone patronizes a cause, this could include attending an art studio on a regular basis to buy local art, listening to an orchestra or buying season tickets, promoting architecture, and more.

Many different languages also contain words that mean patronize (ˈpæ trənaɪz). You may notice that several of these words look and sound similar to the word patronize in its various definitions. These are called cognates, which are formed when two words of different languages have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations of patronize is provided by Word Sense.

Patronize (v.) – to condescend

  •  Portuguese: tratar condescendentemente‎
  •  French: prendre de haut‎, patrociner‎
  •  Spanish: menospreciar‎, sermonear‎
  •  Finnish: holhota‎, suhtautua alentuvasti
  •  Nepali: हेप्नु‎
  •  German: herablassend behandeln‎, bevormunden‎, gönnerhaft behandeln‎
  •  Dutch: denigreren‎, betuttelen‎ (neut.)
  •  Italian: trattare con sufficienza‎, trattare dall’alto in basso‎, degnarsi‎
  •  Russian: смотре́ть свысока́‎ (impf), обраща́ться снисходи́тельно‎ (impf)

Patronize (v.) – to support a cause

  •  French: soutenir‎
  •  Japanese: 支える‎ (sasaeru), 支援する‎ (shien suru)
  •  German: unterstützen‎
  •  Latin: supersum‎
  •  Maori: tautīnei‎
  •  Mandarin: 支持‎ (zhīchí)
  •  Danish: støtte‎
  •  Spanish: respaldar‎, fomentar‎
  •  Portuguese: apoiar‎
  •  Finnish: kannattaa‎, tukea‎
  •  Polish: popierać‎ (impf), (e.g. for a sports team) kibicować‎ (impf)
  •  Russian: подде́рживать‎ (impf), поддержа́ть‎ (pf)
  •  Swedish: stödja‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: seas‎
  •  Dutch: steunen‎
  •  Malay: sokong‎
  •  Ngazidja Comorian: himilia‎

Patronize (v.) to do business at

  •  Russian: ча́сто‎ посеща́ть‎, захаживать‎
  •  Portuguese: frequentar‎
  •  Maori: hōngongoi‎, hōngoingoi‎
  •  Polish: uczęszczać‎
  •  Italian: frequentare‎
  •  Spanish: frecuentar‎
  •  Icelandic: stunda‎, sækja‎, venja komur sínar á‎, venja komur sínar í‎
  •  Hungarian: látogat‎
  •  Irish: minicigh‎
  •  French: fréquenter‎, hanter‎
  •  Catalan: freqüentar‎
  •  Bulgarian: посещавам често‎ 

How can the word patronize be used in a sentence?

The word patronize can be used in many different sentences in English. Below are several examples of patronice.

He frequently patronized the local diner by Princeton University for their pork meat-ball soup on the menu.

The aristocrats decided to patronize the young author to support her literary pursuits.

Shoppers frequently patronized the store, but when the employees began to boycott the management, many had a tiny bit of an unfavorable sense of the store and stopped shopping there. Even the discount cards couldn’t keep the customers.

What are synonyms of patronize?

There are many different words that a person could use in place of the word patronize (pā trə-nīz′) for all of its various definitions. These words and phrases are called synonyms. Learning synonyms is a great way to avoid repeating yourself and also a great way to expand your knowledge of English. This list of synonyms of patronize is provided by Thesaurus. Opposite words of patronize might be to respect, ignore, or refrain from.

Patronize (v.) – to condescend

  •  indulge
  •  be overbearing
  •  talk down to
  •  treat as inferior
  •  favor
  •  look down on
  •  deign
  •  treat badly
  •  condescend
  •  toss a few crumbs
  •  pat on the back
  •  snub
  •  treat like a child
  •  be gracious to
  •  be lofty
  •  stoop

Patronize (v.) – to support a cause

  •  champion
  •  countenance
  •  boost
  •  sustain
  •  encourage
  •  side with
  •  stick by
  •  abide by
  •  cosponsor
  •  stick up for
  •  assist
  •  underwrite
  •  stake
  •  grubstake
  •  support
  •  subsidize
  •  sponsor
  •  go to bat for
  •  uphold
  •  finance
  •  ally
  •  endorse
  •  angel
  •  advocate
  •  abet
  •  favor
  •  give a leg up
  •  give a lift
  •  stand behind
  •  give a boost
  •  sanction
  •  bankroll
  •  second

Patronize (v.) to do business at

  •  frequent
  •  resort
  •  shop at
  •  habituate
  •  hit
  •  buy from
  •  drop in
  •  deal with
  •  play
  •  haunt
  •  affect
  •  infest
  •  visit often
  •  be a customer
  •  be found at
  •  go to
  •  be at home in
  •  trade with
  •  attend regularly
  •  attend
  •  be a client
  •  patronize
  •  be often in
  •  revisit
  •  shop with
  •  hang about
  •  hang out at
  •  buy
  •  purchase from
  •  give business to
  •  hang around
  •  overrun

What is the origin of the word patronize?

According to Etymonline, the word patronize (ˈpeɪ trə-nīz) has been used since the 1580s to mean to favor or act as a patron toward. This comes from the Old French patroniser, a verb meaning to patronize, support or give business to. Since 1797, the word patronize has been used to mean to treat in a condescending way, and it has been used to mean to give regular business to since 1801. One can take off the suffix ise or add the suffixes ed, er, ing, tion, and ly to make the related words patron (n.), patronization (n.), patronizing (adj.), patronizingly (adv.), patronizer (n.) and patronized (past tense v.)

Overall, the word patronize ˈpeɪtrənaɪz means either to support with regular patronage like donors, to speak to in a condescending manner, or to frequent. This word is used in both British English in the UK and American English in the US. Different suffixes can be added to form different parts of speech like an adjective or noun.


  1. patronize | Origin and meaning of patronize | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  2. PATRONIZE Synonyms: 65 Synonyms & Antonyms for PATRONIZE | Thesaurus 
  3. patronize: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  4. Patronize | Definition of Patronize | Merriam-Webster