Definition of gens in English:

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Pronunciation: /jenz/

noun (plural gentes /ˈjentēz/ //)

1A group of families in ancient Rome who shared a name and claimed a common origin.
Example sentences
  • As Tiberius was immediately adopted by Augustus, Germanicus became a member of the Julian gens in the direct line of succession; and his career was accelerated by special dispensations.
  • In contrast to the objects associated with the Pannonic burials attributed to the gens Langobardorum, as well as older Italian evidence, these were remarkable for their militaristic nature.
  • Romulus and Aeneas were also considered ancestors of the gens Julia to which Augustus belonged.
2 Anthropology A group of people who are related through their male ancestors.
Example sentences
  • Roman law gave a priority to the ius civile, the laws of the city of Rome itself, but there was also the ius gentium, recognitions of the indigenous laws of the gens, the tribes, the other peoples and cultures in the empire.
  • Kinship was based, during this early phase of human history, on the gens, or clan, ‘in which descent was traced wholly through the mother…’
  • It is important to note that hairstyle was sometimes a marker of class or gens, as among the Merovingians.


Latin, from the root of gignere 'beget'.

Words that rhyme with gens

Benz, cleanse, Fens, lens

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: gens

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