Definition of paterfamilias in English:

paterfamilias

noun

  • The male head of a family or household.

    ‘at the meal, the story of the Passover is told by the paterfamilias’
    Compare with materfamilias
    • ‘In fact I think it's kind of cute, in a Victorian paterfamilias kinda way.’
    • ‘In the old civic code, the wife was nothing but an accessory to the work of the citizen and paterfamilias.’
    • ‘On being asked how they did it, the paterfamilias commented that it was the inevitable result of coming from two covenanted peoples.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many men still think about fatherhood in terms of the paterfamilias, or traditional father.’
    • ‘Siva, the paterfamilias, is not present, but his picture, often along with that of other deities, is portrayed in the decorative designs above the image.’
    • ‘Beneath these specific demands, however, and colouring all of them, was a passionate desire to destroy the authority of the paterfamilias.’
    • ‘The old image of Dickens, fostered by his surviving family, as a benign paterfamilias and as a man piously wedded to Victorian domestic virtues was thus tarnished.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Like women and slaves, children were the property of the paterfamilias and could be sold or abandoned, as girls often were.’
    • ‘I know that this is changing, particularly among the better-off and better-educated, but many a Bulgarian father, it seems, is still rather like the paterfamilias of old.’
    • ‘The sweet sounds of the banjo are replaced by the elderly paterfamilias, who starts to play a mouth organ.’
    • ‘There is a law of persons, or the family, which reflects Roman family life, with the paterfamilias, the wife and children, and the slaves.’
    • ‘It was bad advice that would have put everyone through the grinder in the name of protecting my rights as paterfamilias.’
    • ‘The paterfamilias or head of the family had the right, in theory at least, to execute summarily any member, including in primis his slaves.’
    • ‘At the heart of the Roman family was the paterfamilias, the father of the family.’
    • ‘The genius of the paterfamilias was honored in familial worship as a household god and was thought to perpetuate a family through many generations.’
    • ‘Late in the film, we discover that the paterfamilias has a gay brother.’
    • ‘That he is a Mormon, a professor, and a paterfamilias adds spice to his mischief.’
    • ‘He's a garrulous paterfamilias who has somehow picked up the incongruous metropolitan affectation of a stubby cigarette holder.’
    male parent, begetter, patriarch
    View synonyms

Origin

Latin, literally ‘father of the family’.

Pronunciation

paterfamilias

/ˌpeɪtəfəˈmɪlɪas//ˌpatəfəˈmɪlɪas/