What is a patron? Definition and example

A patron may be a customer of a restaurant, shop, bar, hotel, or other business. In most cases, the term refers specifically to a regular customer. A patron may also be somebody who gives support, often financial, to a person, cause, or organization. In other words, the term may refer to a sponsor, backer, or financier.

A patron could be somebody who agrees to lend their name to an organization. They do this as a way of supporting it. In this context, the patron helps the organization get noticed, either by adding prestige or credibility.

Members of the British Royal Family, as well as famous celebrities, are patrons of several charities.

The Cambridge Dictionary has the following meanings of the term:

“1. A person or group that supports an activity or organization, especially by giving money. 2. A person who uses a particular shop, restaurant, hotel, etc., especially regularly.”

Patron - British Royal Family are patrons of many organizations
As the website ‘Charities and Patronages’ shows, members of Britain’s Royal Family are patrons of many different types of organizations.

Patron provides patronage

Patronage is the encouragement, privilege, support, or financial aid that somebody bestows to an individual or organization. Organizations may also bestow patronage.

Arts patronage, in the history of arts, refers to the support that leaders such as popes and kings provided. Other wealthy and influential people also provided patronage to sculptors, painters, musicians, and artists.

Providers of ‘patronage’ are ‘patrons.’

William Shakespeare, Ben Johnson, and Leonardo da Vinci sought and enjoyed the support of ecclesiastical or noble patrons. Michelangelo’s greatest patron was Pope Julius II.

Patron saint

A patron saint is a saint that people regard as the heavenly advocate of a country, activity, clan, or family. Crafts, activities, and classes also have patron saints.

Some people also use the terms heavenly protector, patroness saint, or patron hallow.

They exist in Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, and some branches of Islam.

Saint George, Olaf II, and Our Lady of Guadalupe (The Virgin Mary), for example, are the patron saints of England, Norway, and Mexico respectively. The Virgin Mary is the heavenly protector of dozens of countries.