noun, plural gen·tes [jen-teez] /ˈdʒɛn tiz/.
  1. a group of families in ancient Rome claiming descent from a common ancestor and united by a common name and common ancestral religious rites.
  2. 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 formssub·gens, noun, plural sub·gen·tes. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gens

Historical Examples of gens

British Dictionary definitions for gens


noun plural gentes (ˈdʒɛntiːz)
  1. (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
  2. anthropol a group based on descent in the male line

Word Origin for gens

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

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