Medical Definition of Paterfamilias

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Paterfamilias: The male head of the family; the father figure. Paterfamilias is the Latin for father of the household. It is compounded from pater (father) + familias, which comes from familia (household), from famulus (servant, slave). The feminine counterpart is the materfamilias.

Reviewed on 9/7/2018

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