• synonyms


noun, plural phra·tries.
  1. a grouping of clans or other social units within a tribe.
  2. (in ancient Greece) a subdivision of a phyle.
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Origin of phratry

1745–55; < Greek phrātría, equivalent to phrātr-, stem of phrātḗr clansman (akin to brother) + -ia -y3
Related formsphra·tric, phra·tral, phra·tri·ac, phra·tri·al, adjectivesub·phra·try, noun, plural sub·phra·tries.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for phratry

Historical Examples

  • A person would be described as of such a gens, phratry, and tribe.

    The Prehistoric World

    E. A. Allen

  • It is somewhat difficult to understand just what the rights and duties of a phratry were.

  • The Mexican phratry was largely concerned with military matters.

  • The mother gens was distinguished from these as the phratry.

  • Some members of the Wolf phratry assert a right to the Eagle crest.

British Dictionary definitions for phratry


noun plural -tries
  1. anthropol a group of people within a tribe who have a common ancestor
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Derived Formsphratric, adjective

Word Origin

C19: from Greek phratria clan, from phratēr fellow clansman; compare Latin frāter brother
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