Try Our Apps


The Best Internet Slang


[pey-treez-fuh-mil-ee-uh s, pah-, pa-] /ˌpeɪ triz fəˈmɪl i əs, ˌpɑ-, ˌpæ-/
a plural of paterfamilias.


[pey-ter-fuh-mil-ee-uh s, pah-, pat-er-] /ˌpeɪ tər fəˈmɪl i əs, ˌpɑ-, ˌpæt ər-/
noun, plural paterfamiliases for 1, patresfamilias
[pey-treez-fuh-mil-ee-uh s, pah-, pa-] /ˌpeɪ triz fəˈmɪl i əs, ˌpɑ-, ˌpæ-/ (Show IPA),
for 2.
the male head of a household or family, usually the father.
Roman Law.
  1. the head of the Roman family; a juridical entity who holds the patria potestas.
  2. a person who is not under the patria potestas of another.
Origin of paterfamilias
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Latin: literally, father (i.e., master) of the household, with archaic genitive form familiās of familia; see family
Related forms
paterfamiliar, adjective
paterfamiliarly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for patresfamilias
Historical Examples
  • And what do our patresfamilias, the officials, the wives and daughters, do in such cases?

    The Possessed Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Isn't it rather the fault of the audience, of your respectable residents, your patresfamilias?

    The Possessed Fyodor Dostoevsky
British Dictionary definitions for patresfamilias


noun (pl) patresfamilias (ˌpɑːtreɪzfəˈmɪlɪˌæs)
the male head of a household
(Roman law)
  1. the head of a household having authority over its members
  2. the parental or other authority of another person
Word Origin
Latin: father of the family
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for patresfamilias



early 15c., from Latin pater familias "master of a house, head of a family," from pater "father" (see father (n.)) + familias, old genitive of familia "family" (see family).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for patresfamilias

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for patresfamilias

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for patresfamilias