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Word of the Day
Tuesday, June 05, 2001

Definitions for paterfamilias

  1. The male head of a household or the father of a family.

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Citations for paterfamilias
His father served as paterfamilias to the entire García clan, dispensing money and advice to those who needed it, and the family, in turn, revered him. Leslie Stainton, Lorca: A Dream of Life
Just after World War II the paterfamilias, Eric, briefly abandons his wife and children for a doomed romance in Paris. John Domini, New York Times
Origin of paterfamilias
late Middle English
1425-1475
Paterfamilias is from Latin pater, "father" + familias, "of the family or household," the archaic genitive form of familia, "family or household."