patria potestas

[pey-tree-uh poh-tes-tuhs, pah-, pa-; Latin pah-tri-ah poh-tes-tahs]
noun Roman Law.
the power vested in the paterfamilias or head of the Roman family with respect to his wife, natural or adopted children, and agnatic descendants: title to family property is vested exclusively in the paterfamilias. Property acquired by a family member becomes family property, and no family member can enter into a transaction in his or her own right.

< Latin: literally, paternal power Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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