[pey-ter-fuh-mil-ee-uh s, pah-, pat-er-]
- the male head of a household or family, usually the father.
- Roman Law.
- the head of the Roman family; a juridical entity who holds the patria potestas.
- a person who is not under the patria potestas of another.
Origin of paterfamilias
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for paterfamilias
Motilal, the Nehru paterfamilias, had his suits made in Savile Row.Hold Onto Your Penis
David Frum, Justin Green
November 29, 2012
Mr. Schmuck was an excellent "paterfamilias," and took great care of children.Debts of Honor
It is the distribution that must be looked to; it is the paterfamilias that is wanting in the State.Crotchet Castle
Thomas Love Peacock
Well,” said I, “it was either the Lewis gun or Paterfamilias the grim.Great Britain at War
This self-indulgence on your part, my dear Paterfamilias, is weak, vain—not to say culpable.Roundabout Papers
William Makepeace Thackeray
It is the first labour of every governing man, from Paterfamilias to Dominus Rex.Past and Present
- the male head of a household
- Roman law
- the head of a household having authority over its members
- the parental or other authority of another person
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
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper