Definition of phratry in US English:



  • A descent group or kinship group in some tribal societies.

    • ‘Gond society is divided into four groups known as phratries or sagas in Gondi.’
    • ‘In Classical Athens, for example, when a child was no longer a baby, at the age of three, it would be presented to the family clan, the phratry, and subsequently would participate in the choes festival for the first time that same year.’
    • ‘Aristotle, at Politics 128036-8, remarks that ‘thusiai’, groups which sacrifice together, are a precondition for the city, along with families, phratries, and other works of friendship.’
    • ‘Among the historic Winnebago, for instance, in-flesh inhumation was associated with the lower phratry, while platform burial was reserved for the upper phratry.’
    • ‘The feast of Apatouria involves the induction of infants, youths and wives into the phratry, or clan of families.’


Mid 19th century: from Greek phratria, from phratēr ‘clansman’.