parens patriae


par·​ens pat·​ri·​ae
ˈpar-ənz-ˈpa-trē-ˌē, -ˈpā-, -trē-ˌī; ˈpär-ens-ˈpä-trē-ˌī
: the state in its capacity as the legal guardian of persons not sui juris and without natural guardians, as the heir to persons without natural heirs, and as the protector of all citizens unable to protect themselves
because the State is supposed to proceed in respect of the child as parens patriae and not as adversaryKent v. United States, 383 U.S. 541 (1966)

Word History


Latin, parent of the country

Dictionary Entries Near parens patriae

Cite this Entry

“Parens patriae.” Legal Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

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