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(pə-drō′nē, -nā)
n. pl. pa·dro·nes (-nēz, -nāz) or pa·dro·ni (-nē)
1. An owner or manager, especially of an inn; a proprietor.
2. A person who exploitatively employs or finds work for immigrants, especially Italian immigrants.

[Italian, from Latin patrōnus, patron; see patron.]

pa·dro′nism n.


US a system of exploitative work controlled by a padrone
References in classic literature ?
The parrot sat, preening her plumage, on Long John's shoulder.
The regiment fluttered like a bird preening its plumage and became motionless.
Jane wondered at their apparent apathy, and a moment later her wonder turned to amazement as she saw the great cat come quite close to the apes, who appeared entirely unconcerned by its presence, and, squatting down in their midst, fell assiduously to the business of preening, which occupies most of the waking hours of the cat family.
Prince James leaned from his window listening to the song of the birds, and watching them as they hopped from branch to branch, preening themselves in the early sunshine and twittering to their mates.