parens patriae

noun
par·​ens pat·​ri·​ae | \ ˈpar-ənz-ˈpa-trē-ˌē, -ˈpā-, -trē-ˌī; ˈpär-ens-ˈpä-trē-ˌī\

Legal Definition of parens patriae

: 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)

History and Etymology for parens patriae

Latin, parent of the country

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on parens patriae

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

WORD OF THE DAY

having no equal

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!