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[jenz] /dʒɛnz/
noun, plural gentes
[jen-teez] /ˈdʒɛn tiz/ (Show IPA)
a group of families in ancient Rome claiming descent from a common ancestor and united by a common name and common ancestral religious rites.
Anthropology. a group tracing common descent in the male line; clan.
Origin of gens
First recorded in 1840-50, gens is from the Latin word gēns race, people. See genus, gender1, gender2
Related forms
subgens, noun, plural subgentes. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for gens


noun (pl) gentes (ˈdʒɛntiːz)
(in ancient Rome) any of a group of aristocratic families, having a common name and claiming descent from a common ancestor in the male line
(anthropol) a group based on descent in the male line
Word Origin
C19: from Latin: race; compare genus, gender
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gens

1847, in reference to ancient Rome, "tribe, clan, house (of families having a name and certain religious rites in common and a presumed common origin)," from Latin gens (genitive gentis) "race, clan, nation" (see genus).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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