paterfamilias

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

Definition of paterfamilias

plural

patresfamilias

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 (such as a movement, discipline, or enterprise)

Origin and Etymology of paterfamilias

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


First Known Use: 15th century


PATERFAMILIAS Defined for English Language Learners

paterfamilias

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

Definition of paterfamilias for English Language Learners

  • : a man who is the head of a family


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).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

capable of being altered or controlled

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • peter-bruegel-tower-of-babel-painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!