Definition of paterfamilias in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌpādərfəˈmilēəs/

noun (plural patresfamilias /ˌpātrēzfə-/ /ˌpä-/)

The male head of a family or household. Compare with materfamilias.
Example sentences
  • At the heart of the Roman family was the paterfamilias, the father of the family.
  • The current movie is about a family named Baker, of which the paterfamilias is a small-time college football coach, and the mother is a homemaker.
  • But the legitimization of the traditional family provided by the paterfamilias doctrine was reaffirmed by conservative courts through a doctrine of ‘family autonomy’ in the 1920s.


Latin, literally 'father of the family'.

Words that rhyme with paterfamilias

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