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PAT'RON, noun [Latin patronus; Gr. father.]

1. Among the Romans, a master who had freed his slave, and retained some rights over him after his emancipation; also, a man of distinction under whose protection another placed himself. Hence,

2. One who countenances, supports and protects either a person or a work.

3. In the church of Rome, a guardian or saint, whose name a person bears, or under whose special care he is placed and whom he invokes; or a saint in whose name a church or order is founded.

4. In the canon or common law, one who has the gift and disposition of a benefice.

5. An advocate; a defender; one that specially countenances and supports, or lends aid to advance; as patrons of the arts; a patron of useful undertakings; the patrons of virtue.

6. In seamen's language, the commander of a small vessel or passage-boat; also, one who steers a ship's long boat.