Etymology
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patronage (n.)

late 14c., "right of presenting a qualified person to a church benefice," from Old French patronage (14c.) from patron "patron, protector" (see patron) and directly from Medieval Latin patronagium. Secular sense of "action of giving influential support; aid offered by a patron or patrons" is from 1550s. General sense of "power to give jobs or favors, control of appointments to positions in public service," is from 1769; meaning "regular business of customers" is by 1804.

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Definitions of patronage
1
patronage (n.)
the act of providing approval and support;
Synonyms: backing / backup / championship
patronage (n.)
customers collectively;
Synonyms: clientele / business
patronage (n.)
a communication that indicates lack of respect by patronizing the recipient;
Synonyms: condescension / disdain
patronage (n.)
(politics) granting favors or giving contracts or making appointments to office in return for political support;
patronage (n.)
the business given to a commercial establishment by its customers;
even before noon there was a considerable patronage
Synonyms: trade
2
patronage (v.)
support by being a patron of;
patronage (v.)
be a regular customer or client of;
Synonyms: patronize / patronise / support / keep going
From wordnet.princeton.edu