Fatherly is to Patriarch as Wealthy is to ???
October 23, 2007 7:24 AM   Subscribe

A patriarch is the top father-figure, the peerless dad. I used the word "plutarch" to mean someone of peerless wealth, mixing "plutocracy" and "patriarch"... but it turns out the only Plutarch is a Greek biographer. What word should I use?
posted by Mozai to Grab Bag (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Plutocrat?
posted by box at 7:30 AM on October 23, 2007


Yeah, plutocrat's probably your word.
posted by cog_nate at 7:34 AM on October 23, 2007


democracy -> democrat
aristocracy -> aristocrat (or aristocat, if it's a cat)
plutocracy -> plutocrat
posted by teg at 7:37 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: A plutocrat is someone who exercises power by wealth, or governs by wealth, but doesn't communicate the notion of being the most affluent. I'm thinking Scrooge McDuck, not Washington lobby groups.

As a bit of trivia, I found the word in lojban: ralcfu, but that's too nerdy to use in conversation.
posted by Mozai at 7:40 AM on October 23, 2007


patriocracy -> patriocrat ?
posted by amtho at 7:40 AM on October 23, 2007


Then use tycoon or magnate.
posted by cog_nate at 7:46 AM on October 23, 2007


I don't see why you couldn't coin the word "plutarch" for this purpose, even though it is the name of a Greek historian. I'm neither a linguistics expert, nor a Greek expert, but apparently "ploutos" means wealth, and "arche" means beginning or rule. So it could work.
posted by kidbritish at 7:53 AM on October 23, 2007


How about "plutiarch"
posted by rmless at 8:02 AM on October 23, 2007


I agree with plutocrat.

The problem with using plutarch, or coining plutarch, for this purpose, is that it might imply a relationship between the concept and Plutarch and his work.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 8:13 AM on October 23, 2007


Unless you're wed to using a single word, "wealthy patriarch" communicates the idea clearly. The single word descriptions risk confusing people.
posted by dws at 8:16 AM on October 23, 2007


Plutocrat.

A plutocrat is someone who exercises power by wealth, or governs by wealth, but doesn't communicate the notion of being the most affluent. I'm thinking Scrooge McDuck, not Washington lobby groups.

This may explain why you're resisting "plutocrat".
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 8:17 AM on October 23, 2007


The use of the word 'Patriarch' requires a context to have any meaning - the term is always used as 'Uncle Francis is the patriarch of our family' or "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are referred to as the three patriarchs of the people of Israel".

This person of peerless wealth...we're talking about the 'wealthiest person in the world' or the 'richest man in Babylon'.
posted by enfa at 8:20 AM on October 23, 2007


And re: patriarch and context don't foreget religious patriarchs like the patriarch of constantinople.
posted by Jahaza at 8:43 AM on October 23, 2007


Response by poster: enfa: you're on my wavelength. "Scrooge McDuck is the richest duck in Ducksberg" becomes "Scrooge McDuck is the XXXX of Ducksberg."

I don't think plutocrat works because Mr. McDuck doesn't give a fiddle about the local aldermen, zoning by-laws, or garbage removal (give-or-take involvement by the Beagle Boys). When I think plutocrat, I think of Citizen Kane, Conrad Black, Richard D. Parsons, Michael Eisner, people who use wealth as influence -- even if it's not their own wealth. -crat -> kratos -> "power". I'm thinking of pure affluence, irregardless of power or avarice.
posted by Mozai at 8:45 AM on October 23, 2007


Maybe you want robber baron?
posted by interrobang at 8:51 AM on October 23, 2007


If you aren't averse to coining something...pecunicrat?
posted by gnomeloaf at 8:53 AM on October 23, 2007


Again, try tycoon or magnate. Or, on preview, interrobang's suggestion.

It seems you're really after a neologism despite the fact that there are many existing terms that get the message across.
posted by cog_nate at 8:57 AM on October 23, 2007


Best answer: "S. McD. is the Croesus of Duckburg?" It's more an allusion than a term, but it's fairly commonly used to denote the absolute wealthiest guy on the block.
posted by ormondsacker at 8:59 AM on October 23, 2007


Best answer: The wall I'm running into here is that there can only be one richest person in the world at any given time, and usually that person stays that way for a generation. So, if we're talking about 6000 years of human history, 1 person every 30 years, thats 200 of history's most powerful individuals...Even less when fortunes are passed down within the family.

An allusion to one of those 200 individuals implies things other than wealth - business practices, philanthropy, etc.

Compare this to patriarch - everyone has a father, patriarchial society etc - so about half the world's current population is now or has the potential to be a patriarch.

Your best bet is to pick out a recognizable figure whose characteristics besides super-wealth embody attributes you'd also like to imply. So, 'the Rockerfeller of Boston' or 'the Bill Gates of Shelbyville'.
posted by enfa at 10:07 AM on October 23, 2007


You can make up a word, but on the down side no one else is going to know what it means without a little prompting. On the up side, people won't accidentally associate it with something you didn't intend.

I suggest plutomax.
posted by kittyprecious at 10:46 AM on October 23, 2007


Patrician might apply.
posted by lekvar at 11:10 AM on October 23, 2007


Plutocrat is it.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:11 PM on October 23, 2007


Don't use plutarch, you'll look like an idiot.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:12 PM on October 23, 2007


The Russians have appropriated the term oligarch for this rough meaning. Tycoon would also work, although it has less menace now than it used to.

You could go with Mr. Moneybags or Daddy Warbucks. There's Mr. Potter, too, but it's not as clear a reference. Charles Montgomery Burns would be clear in some contexts, but not others.
posted by dhartung at 11:37 PM on October 23, 2007


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