paterfamilias

[ pey-ter-fuh-mil-ee-uh s, pah-, pat-er- ]
/ ˌpeɪ tər fəˈmɪl i əs, ˌpɑ-, ˌpæt ər- /

noun, plural pa·ter·fa·mil·i·as·es for 1, pa·tres·fa·mil·i·as [pey-treez-fuh-mil-ee-uh s, pah-, pa-] /ˌpeɪ triz fəˈmɪl i əs, ˌpɑ-, ˌpæ-/ 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.

Nearby words

  1. patently,
  2. patentor,
  3. pater,
  4. pater patriae,
  5. pater, walter horatio,
  6. paternal,
  7. paternalism,
  8. paternalist,
  9. paternalistic,
  10. paternally

Origin of paterfamilias

1425–75; late Middle English < Latin: literally, father (i.e., master) of the household, with archaic genitive form familiās of familia; see family

Related formspa·ter·fa·mil·iar, adjectivepa·ter·fa·mil·iar·ly, adverb

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for paterfamilias

paterfamilias

/ (ˌpeɪtəfəˈmɪlɪˌæs) /

noun plural 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 for paterfamilias

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

Word Origin and History for paterfamilias

paterfamilias

n.

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