Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

paterfamilias

play
noun pa·ter·fa·mil·i·as \ˌpa-tər-fə-ˈmi-lē-əs, ˌpä-, ˌpā-\

Simple Definition of paterfamilias

  • : a man who is the head of a family

Full Definition of paterfamilias

plural pa·tres·fa·mil·i·as play \ˌpā-ˌtrēz-, ˌpä-ˌtrās-\

  1. 1 :  the male head of a household

  2. 2 :  the father of a family

  3. 3 :  a man who originates or is a leading figure in something (as a movement, discipline, or enterprise)

Origin of paterfamilias

Middle English, from Latin, from pater father + familias, archaic genitive of familia household — more at father, family


First Known Use: 15th century

Rhymes with paterfamilias


Learn More about paterfamilias


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up paterfamilias? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

kittly-benders duvet spindrift pince-nez
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ